Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research: Volume 22

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(8 chapters)

In this study, we examine the role of temporal framing in the context of tax audit risk. Using construal-level theory, we propose that compared with an every-year frame (e.g., 1.5 million returns are audited every year), framing audit risk in an everyday frame (e.g., 4,000 returns are audited every day) will make audit risk seem more likely and thus increase taxpayer compliance. We test whether perceived fairness of the tax system, an individual difference variable related to tax compliance, moderates the effect of temporal framing on behavioral intentions. The results show that communicating risk in a day frame rather than a year frame increases compliance for taxpayers who perceive the tax system as unfair but not for taxpayers who perceive the tax system as fair. Increasing compliance among taxpayers who perceive the tax system as unfair is crucial, as they are less likely to be compliant. Thus, framing audit risk can assist in increasing taxpayer compliance.


Online retailers often lack nexus within a purchaser’s home state and do not collect sales tax at the point of sale. Consumers exacerbate the loss of tax revenue by typically not remitting the use tax on these purchases. To date, very little research addresses the effectiveness of methods to increase use tax compliance, and the need for more work is well documented in the literature.


This study examines, in a controlled economics-based experiment, the effectiveness of current approaches to close the use tax gap. Participants are randomly assigned to one of three treatments to determine the extent to which they would voluntarily pay use tax on a purchase transaction. The experiment mimics the natural environment and measures the participants’ actual compliance with cash payouts.


We find individuals are significantly more likely to pay the use tax when given detailed information about their online purchases and the use tax obligation compared to only receiving a description of the use tax. We also find compliance is significantly higher when individuals have a separate state income tax line on which to report use tax liability.


Unlike personal income tax compliance, consumers are more likely to evade use tax payments because taxing authorities are usually unable or unwilling to audit consumer purchases. This makes an examination of the effectiveness of reporting and collection methods worthwhile. This study measures use tax compliance based on actual consumer behavior with real economic consequences rather than taxpayer intentions, as reported in prior work. This is important because intentions and behavior are often different, especially in an economic setting. Finally, policymakers will benefit from an effectiveness-assessment of actual methods, rather than hypothetical and potentially unfeasible approaches, to try and increase use tax compliance.


This chapter examines whether professional auditors’ affect toward client management influences fraud likelihood judgments and whether accountability and experience with fraud risk judgments moderate this effect. This research also explores the process by which affect influences fraud judgments by examining affect’s influence on the evaluation of fraud evidence cues. Results indicate that more positive affect toward the client results in lower fraud likelihood judgments. Accountability is found to moderate this effect, but only for experienced auditors. These findings have implications for fraud brainstorming sessions where all staff levels provide input into fraud risk assessments and because client characteristics are especially salient during these assessments. Importantly, results also support the proposition that affect impacts inexperienced auditors’ fraud assessments through errant attribution of client likability to evidence cues that refer to management, rather than biasing all client-related evaluations. Together, these findings suggest that education and training can be improved to better differentiate relevant and irrelevant cues in fraud judgment.


Although prior research documents that analysts sometimes herd their forecasts, very few studies investigate how investors’ judgments are influenced by their perceptions of the likelihood of analyst herding. I conduct an experimental study to investigate the conditions under which investors’ assessments of uncertainty about future earnings are influenced by their perceptions of the likelihood of analyst herding. As expected, and consistent with motivated reasoning, the results show that the temporal order of analyst forecasts influences investors’ estimates of the likelihood of analyst herding and investors’ uncertainty judgments when analyst forecasts are preference-inconsistent but not when analyst forecasts are preference-consistent. This study provides a potential explanation for the mixed findings of prior research in regard to investors’ reactions to the likelihood of analyst herding. In addition, this study extends research on investors’ credulity by providing evidence that motivated reasoning and skepticism may serve as a mechanism that contributes to that credulity.


The increasing availability of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) financial statements motivates additional investigation of whether XBRL’s search-facilitating technology (SFT) and enhanced viewing capabilities facilitate information search and improve financial analysis decision quality and efficiency. This experiment investigates how using XBRL technology to view financial statements influences novice investors’ decision quality by affecting decision processes such as search strategy and effort, as well as decision efficiency (accuracy/effort) in a financial statement analysis task. In the experiment, randomly assigned student participants (n = 102) invested in companies using either static PDF-formatted or XBRL-enabled financial statements. No differences in decision quality (i.e., accuracy) due to technology use were observed. However, participants in the XBRL condition examined less information, used more directed search processes, and evidenced greater efficiency than did participants assigned to the PDF condition. Hence, the results suggest that XBRL SFT affects the use of differing decision processes relative to PDF technology.


This study investigates whether or not accounting and legal decision-makers at publicly traded US firms exhibit a professional affiliation bias with respect to their selection of business service providers. Executives at NYSE or NASDAQ firms who were affiliated with the accounting profession, the legal profession, or neither profession indicated their likelihood of using one of three randomly assigned types of firms (i.e., a CPA firm, a law firm, or a firm with both CPA and attorney partners) to provide five selected business services. The five business services represent the range of accounting and legal services that firms often outsource: audit, tax representation, mergers and acquisitions, trade regulation/interstate commerce, and litigation. We find that executive level decision-makers at publicly traded US firms do exhibit a professional affiliation bias in the selection of business service providers and that this professional affiliation bias is stronger in attorneys than in CPAs. The fact that all respondents were NYSE or NASDAQ executives, rather than students or another surrogate population, provides additional relevance and generalizability to our findings. Identifying this bias can help executives avoid suboptimal initial selection decisions and/or inaccurate performance evaluations of external business service providers.

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Advances in Accounting Behavioural Research
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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