Auditors’ Internal Control over Financial Reporting Decisions: Analysis, Synthesis, and Research Directions

January 2013 | Wolfe, Christopher J.

We synthesize the literature on auditors’ evaluation of, and reporting on, internal control over financial reporting (ICOFR), as required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The purpose of the synthesis is (1) to provide information on how and how well auditors perform the task, which serves as feedback to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board on implementation issues and problems related to auditors’ application of the professional standards on ICOFR; and (2) to identify gaps in the current literature and fruitful areas of future research. Consistent with Auditing Standard No. 5, we delineate five phases of the ICOFR audit: (i) planning; (ii) scoping; (iii) testing; (iv) evaluation; and (v) reporting. We structure our synthesis using a framework that classifies the determinants of performance in each phase into five broad areas: (a) the auditor’s attributes, (b) the client’s attributes, (c) the interaction between the auditor and the client, (d) task attributes, and (e) environmental attributes. Key contributions include providing an ICOFR tasks taxonomy, proposing a model of the determinants of performance for each task, evaluating auditors’ performance of the tasks in our taxonomy, highlighting findings and gaps of importance to regulators, and providing a road map for future research.

Author

Co-author(s)

  • Stephen K. Asare
  • Brian C. Fitzgerald
  • Lynford E. Graham
  • Jennifer R. Joe
  • Eric M. Negangard

Publication(s)

Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory