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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Breda Sweeney and Bernard Pierce

Audit firms face a constant conflict between the business of auditing and the profession of auditing, which is manifested at audit senior level in the pressure to perform…

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Abstract

Audit firms face a constant conflict between the business of auditing and the profession of auditing, which is manifested at audit senior level in the pressure to perform quality work within specified time limits. Prior quantitative studies have reported high levels of quality‐threatening behaviour (QTB) at senior level and the importance of examining contributory factors has been highlighted. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with audit seniors in four of the (then) Big Five firms and findings suggest that key variables (time pressure, participative target setting, and style of performance evaluation) have been inadequately operationalised in previous studies and that two distinct forms of QTB exist: deliberate and inadvertent. Propositions are developed for variables associated with both forms of QTB, which provide direction and focus for future research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 May 2007

Leanne C. Gundry and Gregory A. Liyanarachchi

This paper aims to extend the literature on reduced audit quality practices (RAQPs) by examining the relationship between time budget pressure, auditors' personality…

3312

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to extend the literature on reduced audit quality practices (RAQPs) by examining the relationship between time budget pressure, auditors' personality types, and the incidence of two RAQPs – premature sign‐off of an audit step (PSO) and accepting a weak client explanation (WCE).

Design/methodology/approach

The aim of this paper is to collect data. A research instrument was developed and administered to audit practitioners in New Zealand using postal and web link methods. The research instrument included several hypothetical audit scenarios and Blumenthal's Type A Self‐Rating Inventory Scale (TASRI).

Findings

The paper finds that a significant relationship is present between time budget pressure and PSO only. Significant relationships are also found among auditors' personality types and the incidence of the two RAQPs. These results suggest that the audit environment is complex and that time budget pressure is only one of several explanations for the incidence of RAQPs.

Research limitations/implications

The research instrument of this paper has not been used before in its entirety. This may raise issues of validity of the findings. Also, defining and measuring time budget pressure in terms of two categories (high/low) as opposed to a continuum may have implications on results reported in this study.

Originality/value

The paper provides results that show the importance of auditors' personality type in understanding more about the incidence of RAQPs.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 2006

Breda Sweeney and Bernard Pierce

The aim of the research is to investigate, using a field survey, the concept of underreporting of time (URT), from both an individual and organisational perspective as a…

4100

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the research is to investigate, using a field survey, the concept of underreporting of time (URT), from both an individual and organisational perspective as a defence mechanism for coping with time budget pressure.

Design/methodology/approach

Big Four audit partners and seniors are interviewed regarding the factors that motivate staff auditors to engage in manipulation of time records and the consequences of the behaviour for individual auditors and audit firms.

Findings

Findings indicate that time record manipulation is not a single type of activity as suggested previously, but includes a variety of behaviours, six of which are identified in the study. Each of these constitutes a very different type of defence mechanism, motivated by different influences and resulting in different outcomes for the individual and the organisation. The firms engage in a defence mechanism characterised by a series of mixed messages to avoid dealing with inherent cost/quality conflicts and elements of this mechanism become embedded in routine activities at different levels in the firms.

Research limitations/implications

The implications for audit firms vary with the type of time record manipulation and future research therefore needs to concentrate on a closer examination of the various practices that make up URT as identified in this study.

Originality/value

The insights provided by the research are used to explain apparently conflicting arguments in the literature and to set out implications for research and practice.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 19 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1996

David T. Otley and Bernard J. Pierce

Research suggests that dysfunctional behaviour by auditors may be related to the perceived tightness of time budgets. Using data collected from practising auditors…

5492

Abstract

Research suggests that dysfunctional behaviour by auditors may be related to the perceived tightness of time budgets. Using data collected from practising auditors, examines the nature of such a relationship. Found that the frequency of dysfunctional behaviour increased sharply as budgets were seen to approach unattainable levels of performance. Recognizing the importance of auditors’ perceptions regarding the attainability of budgets, examines antecedent variables affecting budget attainability. Found that the influence of client fee expectations, the level of audit senior participation and the influence of the audit programme were significant influences. Discusses implications for practice and possibilities for future research.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 1994

Ali N. Azad

Unlike external auditing, to date, no study has been done to determinethe internal auditors′ dysfunctional behaviour under time budgetpressure. Consequently, determines…

1652

Abstract

Unlike external auditing, to date, no study has been done to determine the internal auditors′ dysfunctional behaviour under time budget pressure. Consequently, determines the attitude of internal auditors towards time budgets, and the likely or perceived existence of time filtering practices in internal auditing. Presents survey results which indicate that a majority of respondents perceived time budgets as an interference with the proper conduct of the audit and conceded to a natural conflict between the essence of time budgets and the gathering of sufficient and competent evidence. The survey results further indicated the filtering of time to be a relatively widespread phenomenon in all areas of internal auditing.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 9 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 June 2021

Rabih Nehme, Amir Michael and Jim Haslam

A survey is here systematically conducted to analyse auditors’ perceptions of dysfunctional auditing behaviour (DAB). As a result of many accounting scandals and…

Abstract

Purpose

A survey is here systematically conducted to analyse auditors’ perceptions of dysfunctional auditing behaviour (DAB). As a result of many accounting scandals and litigations faced by audit firms, this paper aims to assess whether factors leading to DAB are embedded in audit firms’ practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample used in this study comprises auditors at all levels of employment with the big four audit firms in the United Kingdom (UK). DAB is analysed using two signals/indicators: premature sign-off and under-reporting of chargeable time. Time budget pressure and time deadline pressure are the factors considered here as potentially pushing auditors to exhibit DAB. A careful and considered analysis and interpretation is here articulated. Additionally, the sample individuals are divided into audit trainees and experienced auditors to assess any potential differences in the perception of DAB that reflect the experience factor.

Findings

Coordination with internal auditors, different perceptions between audit trainees and experienced auditors of dysfunctional behaviour, working during their personal time and the box-ticking exercise are amongst the findings that may help practitioners to understand the reasons behind dysfunctional behaviour and identify measures to mitigate it.

Originality/value

The study can aid concerned executives and audit partners to minimise DAB related to different time pressures by casting light on the key ethical issues. The study is conducted on a sample of the big four firms in the UK covering all organisational structure. It assesses if experience plays a role in the perception of DAB.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Itsaso Barrainkua and Marcela Espinosa-Pike

The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence on underreporting of time (URT) by audit partners and the factors that drive URT at their level. In particular the study…

1680

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence on underreporting of time (URT) by audit partners and the factors that drive URT at their level. In particular the study tests the relationship between URT and the following variables: pressures perceived by auditors related to audit budgets, the ethical acceptability of URT, the influence of peers and superiors on the resolution of ethical conflicts, and organisational ethical culture. A deeper analysis of URT practices is necessary, as failing to correctly report the total hours worked by audit partners poses a threat to audit quality, and can have a detrimental effect on individual auditors, audit firms, and even the auditing profession itself.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple regression data analysis was conducted, based on 84 responses from Spanish audit partners working in small- and medium-sized audit firms.

Findings

The results reveal that URT is affected by the pressures perceived by auditors related to audit budgets, the ethical acceptability of URT, and the influence of peers and superiors on the resolution of ethical conflicts.

Originality/value

This study contributes to international literature on the organisational context of audit firms by analysing URT from the perspective of audit partners. It also has practical implications, as it focuses on understanding the beliefs and behavioural patterns of audit partners, which is critical to proposing mechanisms for avoiding dysfunctional behaviour at all levels of audit firms.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 July 2013

Jan Svanberg and Peter Öhman

The purpose of this paper is to address the impact of ethical culture on audit quality under conditions of time budget pressure. The study also tests the relationship…

9621

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the impact of ethical culture on audit quality under conditions of time budget pressure. The study also tests the relationship between ethical culture and time budget pressure.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a field survey of financial auditors employed by audit firms operating in Sweden.

Findings

The study finds relationships between three ethical culture factors and reduced audit quality acts. The ethical environment and the use of penalties to enforce ethical norms are negatively related to reduced audit quality acts, whereas the demand for obedience to authorities is positively related to reduced audit quality acts. Underreporting of time is not related to ethical culture, but is positively related to time budget pressure. Finally, the study finds a relationship between two ethical culture factors and time budget pressure, indicating a possible causal relationship, but ethical culture does not mediate an indirect effect of time budget pressure on reduced audit quality acts.

Originality/value

This is the first study to report the effect of ethical culture on dysfunctional auditor behavior using actual self‐reported frequencies of reduced audit quality acts and underreporting of time as data.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 28 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 April 2019

Emer Curtis and Breda Sweeney

Prior literature provides little insight on how management control systems have responded to the growth of collaborative new product development (NPD). The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

Prior literature provides little insight on how management control systems have responded to the growth of collaborative new product development (NPD). The purpose of this paper is to contrast the use of budgets to manage collaborative and in-house NPD and to consider the implications for enabling flexibility.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports on the findings of a case study company in the medical devices industry that uses two different business models for its NPD activities. While the company engages in in-house NPD for its own products, it also engages in collaborative NPD services with a range of customers.

Findings

The study illuminates how two types of budgets (annual and project) can have very different impacts on flexibility under different business models. The annual financial budgets imposed rigid constraints on in-house NPD and resulted in reduced flexibility, whereas in collaborative NPD, they had little impact on flexibility. Project budgets created hard operational constraints in collaborative NPD which generated a highly pressurised yet highly creative environment, whereas project budgets had little impact on flexibility in in-house NPD.

Originality/value

The study contributes detailed empirical insights into the control systems used to manage collaborative NPD from the supplier perspective, where creativity is largely responsive and contrasts these with the management of in-house NPD where creativity is largely expected. The authors also contribute an analysis of the key control systems and other factors that sustain flexibility in this highly pressurised open innovation environment.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 March 2022

Razana Juhaida Johari, Nurul Afifah Mohd Hairudin and Ayub Khan Dawood

The financial scandals in Malaysia have caused auditors to be convicted of such failure and led to the claims that they were involved in dysfunctional audit behavior. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The financial scandals in Malaysia have caused auditors to be convicted of such failure and led to the claims that they were involved in dysfunctional audit behavior. The incidences have worsened the profession’s credibility and deteriorated the public confidence on the profession. This study aims to examine the influence of professional skills, independence, work experience, time budget pressure on dysfunctional audit behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

This study collected primary data based on a questionnaire survey among audit firms in the Klang Valley area and registered with Malaysian Institutes of Accountants.

Findings

The findings from a survey conducted on 130 Malaysian auditors proved that time budget pressure is significantly influenced the dysfunctional audit behavior. However, this study did not support the relationship between professional skills, independence, work experience and dysfunctional audit behavior.

Originality/value

This study contributed to the researchers, auditors as well as educators in further understanding the factors that might influence the dysfunctional audit behavior. The findings are expected to help in improving the auditors’ credibility and uphold the public confidence on the auditing profession.

Details

International Journal of Ethics and Systems, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9369

Keywords

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