An Examination of Factors Associated with the Type and Number of Internal Control Documentation Formats

James Bierstaker, Diane Janvrin, D. Jordan Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Auditing standards require that auditors obtain and document their understanding of internal control on every engagement, but do not specify the type or number of documentation formats auditors should adopt. We investigate the association of selected factors on the type and number of formats chosen. Data were collected from 181 auditors representing Big 4, national, regional, and local firms. Results suggest that auditors are most likely to use narratives followed by questionnaires. Firm size, client IT complexity, and auditor IT expertise are associated with auditors' format choice. Furthermore, while auditors use multiple formats, they tend to emphasize one format more than others. These findings have implications for audit effectiveness, since prior research suggests that documentation format may impact audit judgment, and auditors who rely on a single format may overlook significant internal control deficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-48
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Accounting
StatePublished - 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting

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