Budgeting audit time: Effects of audit step frame and verifiability

Eldar Maksymov, Mark W. Nelson, William R. Kinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Auditors must ensure that their audit plans budget sufficient time for key audit steps. Research has shown that insufficient audit time budgets can be detrimental to audit quality. We examine whether framing audit steps negatively (e.g., assess whether management’s assumptions are not appropriate) increases time budgets— particularly for steps in which the auditor perceives that performance quality is less verifiable, and thus most at risk of being performed with low quality. First, we report the results of analyses indicating that, in practice, audit steps are predominantly framed positively, potentially resulting in smaller time budgets. We then report the results of an experiment in which 50 experienced audit managers budget time for an audit program that tests a Level-3 fair-value estimate. Prior research and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) inspections indicate that this is a challenging audit area, vulnerable to allegations of low audit quality. The results support our predictions and suggest that reframing audit steps negatively would increase audit time budgets—an audit quality indicator— particularly for less-verifiable steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Research in Accounting
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Audit planning
  • Fair-value auditing
  • Frame of audit steps
  • Verifiability of audit steps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Budgeting audit time: Effects of audit step frame and verifiability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this