The Effect of Time Pressure, Task Complexity and Litigation Risk on Auditors’ Reliance on Decision Aids

Gomaa, Mohamed
Gomaa, Amal
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Auditors’ reliance on decision aids has been the subject of much research in the decision-aid literature. Extant literature shows that auditors are somewhat reluctant to rely on decision aids throughout the audit process, despite potential improvement in decision accuracy. The objective of this study is to empirically examine the extent to which auditors’ reliance on decision aids is associated with the perceived levels of time pressure, task complexity and litigation risk—decision aid reliance factors that have been understudied in the auditing literature. In a 2 x 2 x 2 between-subjects experimental design, the independent variables were manipulated as follows: time pressure (high, low), task complexity (high, low) and litigation risk (high, low). The dependent variable reflects the level of reliance on a decision aid. Study results indicate a positive relationship between each of the three factors and decision aid reliance. A three-way interaction was also indicated, suggesting that the joint effect of litigation risk and task complexity depends on the level of perceived time pressure. Study findings hold implications for both practicing auditors and audit researchers, particularly in the increasingly litigious environment in which auditors are immersed.
decision aids, auditing, litigation risk, time pressure, task complexity
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