A field-based analysis of audit workpaper review

Neil L. Fargher, Diane Mayorga, Ken T. Trotman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This paper applies the models of Gibbins and Trotman (2002) and Rich et al. (1997a) in a public sector environment. We consider the factors impacting extent of review, level of stylization, and reviewer styles. We also examine the impact of reviewer rank on the above. In a field-based study we found that variation in review hours was due to both individual reviewer factors (reviewer style) and contextual factors (company size, time pressure, attitude of the reviewer to detail). Overall these results support the general robustness of the Gibbins and Trotman (2002) model to a public sector environment involving very experienced seniors and managers. Following the Rich et al. (1997a) framework we also provide evidence on the extent and types of stylization in the review process. Seniors and managers believed that the focuses of different reviewers differed substantially and that they stylized both the presentation and content of the working papers to accommodate these differences. While the evidence on their stylization was strong, their awareness of stylization by preparers for them was weaker. We also found significant differences between senior and manager reviewers including their extent of review, expectations of the perceived emphasis of the review level above, relative time spent on opinion formation and documentation, and the extent of their responses to reviewers' preferences. Finally, we provided a range of additional insights into reviewer style.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-110
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


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