A study of task uncertainty associated with public accounting firm services
Burkette, Gary D.
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Relative levels of task uncertainty associated with various CPA firm services were examined in this study. Additionally, tests to determine whether systematic variation occurs at the office or at the firm level were conducted. Multiple measures of task uncertainty were developed. Multiple analysis of variance techniques were used to analyze data drawn from audit, tax, actuarial and benefits consulting, and general business consulting engagements. Data was drawn from two office of one Big Six CPA firm. As expected, after comparing audit and tax engagements from two office, the null hypothesis that there was no difference in task uncertainty levels between offices on either service type could not be rejected. The null hypothesis that no difference in levels of task uncertainty between the four service types exist was rejected. This result was also consistent with expectations. These findings provide empirical support for an assumption made by previous researchers that the individual firm is the appropriate level for analysis. Additionally, results suggest that, at the firm level, differences in levels of task uncertainty do exist. In general, audit and tax services appear to involve lower levels of task uncertainty than do consulting services; however, it should be noted that significant differences also existed between consulting services. The implications of these results for future research are that the firm appears to be the appropriate organizational level for examining research questions related to CPA firms. Also, consulting services need to be considered not as one service type, but potentially as distinct from one another. Future research involving other Big six firms as well as second and third-tier firms could lead to greater generalizability of these results
- Doctoral Dissertations