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Reviewers' Responses to Anticipated Stylization Attempts by Preparers of Audit Workpapers

Hun-Tong Tan and Ken T. Trotman
The Accounting Review
Vol. 78, No. 2 (Apr., 2003), pp. 581-604
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3203266
Page Count: 24
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Reviewers' Responses to Anticipated Stylization Attempts by Preparers of Audit Workpapers
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Abstract

In this paper, we examine specific process gains and losses arising from the review process by considering the interaction between attributes of the preparer and attributes of the reviewer. Specifically, we investigate determinants of reviewers' performance in the presence of potential stylization attempts by audit workpaper preparers. We assess whether reviewers' detection of conclusion errors and documentation errors depends on three factors: nature of the preparer's stylization (by way of the preparer's differential emphasis on conclusion and documentation errors), auditor rank, and the reviewer's sensitivity to such stylization attempts. Our results show that, depending on the reviewers' stylization sensitivity, their cognitive templates can both facilitate and interfere with reviewers' effectiveness in responding to these stylization attempts, resulting in both potential gains and losses from the review process. Our paper identifies conditions related to whether and how reviewers can provide adaptive responses to stylization attempts, and demonstrates that conclusions about rank-related performance differences in the review process should consider complex interactions between attributes of the reviewer and the preparer. Implications are discussed.

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