Effects of Experiential and Reflective Interventions on Novice Auditor Selection of Evidence Gathering Techniques

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Virginia Tech


Auditing literature recently identified what has been termed a "social mismatch" between novice auditors and older, more experienced, more knowledgeable client contacts (Bennett and Hatfield 2013). This phenomenon occurs when novice auditors avoid face-to-face interactions with clients and can adversely affect the audit process. In light of the importance of novice auditor-client interactions, I conduct an experiment to identify potential mechanisms to mitigate the social mismatch phenomenon. Specifically, accounting students proxying for novice auditors are randomly assigned to experimental conditions in which they participate in role-play and perspective-taking exercises and complete an audit task commonly performed by novice auditors. Initial findings indicate that role-play interventions, such as those currently used in training at large public accounting firms, may exacerbate novice auditor inhibition tendencies. Furthermore, additional results suggest that actively taking the client's perspective prior to choosing an evidence gathering technique does not improve novice auditor decisions. Finally, auditor inherent characteristics are studied, including levels of emotional intelligence and impression management, and also do not appear to have implications for selection of evidence gathering techniques. Results of this study provide valuable insight into novice auditor-client interactions, as well as the implications of such interactions for audit evidence gathering activities.



Audit Evidence Gathering, Novice Auditors, Auditor Interaction, Intergroup Contact Theory, Role Play, Perspective-Taking