Date of Award
PhD in Accountancy
Department of Accountancy
Jean C. Bedard
Jay C. Thibodeau
This dissertation consists of three studies investigating changes in auditing. This abstract summarizes each study, including purpose, methodology, and findings.
The first study synthesizes the extant literature examining geographically distributed work arrangements in other disciplines such as management and social psychology. Focusing on communication and coordination, knowledge sharing, work design, and social identity in geographically distributed teams, I identify opportunities for future research to expand our understanding of how geographically distributing audit work impacts auditors, the audit process, and audit quality.
My second paper explores a key contributor to the success of geographically distributed work highlighted in my literature review: the design of the work. Due to the global distribution of audit work, staff auditors are likely to possess limited experience with tasks performed abroad. Specifically, staff auditors are likely to gain experience with such tasks primarily through review and follow up responsibilities. I investigate this issue using an experiment in which task identity (the degree to which an auditor performs a whole task from beginning to end) and perceived task significance vary between participants. Results show that auditors who complete tasks that they did not start perform at a significantly lower level when they perceive the work to be of lower significance. I also find that auditors perform at consistently higher levels when they either complete a task from start to finish or perceive the task to be of greater significance.
The situation above, in which direct experience with a task is limited, is comparable to audit professionals' lack of direct experience with actual material statement fraud. Given that knowledge is a fundamental contributor to performance, the lack of experiential knowledge may make it difficult for auditors to make high quality judgments in areas where experience is limited. My third study investigates the usefulness of a knowledge tool, consisting of an industry-specific fraud scenario, in improving auditors' risk assessments and planning judgments related to fraud. The findings of this experiment suggest that auditors who are supplied with a fraud story assess overall engagement and fraud risk more conservatively, in line with experts, relative to the two other competing interventions and control conditions.
Hanes, Denise R., "Changes in Auditing: A Three Part Investigation". 2013. 7.