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Can expertise mitigate auditors’ unintentional biases?

Andres Guiral, Waymond Rodgers, Emiliano Ruiz and Jose A. Gonzalo-Angulo

Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, 2015, vol. 24, issue C, 105-117

Abstract: It is important for both academics and practitioners to understand how biases influence auditing opinions, as well as how we might counteract those biases. According to moral seduction theory, auditors’ judgments are morally induced by conflicts of interest in an unconscious manner. We combined an auditor ethical decision-making model with an expertise model in a laboratory experiment with European auditors to demonstrate that expertise helps to mitigate unconscious reporting bias in the going-concern setting. Our findings suggest that while problem-solving ability reinforces the auditors’ public watchdog function, task-specific experience reduces their fear of provoking the self-fulfilling prophecy effect. Our contribution to the literature is timely since the European Green Paper on Auditing is ignoring auditor education, learning, and training as potentially effective ways to enhance audit quality and increase professional skepticism.

Keywords: Auditing; Conflicts of interest; Unintentional bias; Expertise; Self-fulfilling prophecy effect; Moral seduction theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.intaccaudtax.2014.11.002

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