This article summarizes three academic studies (Brewster 2011; Brewster 2016; Bucaro 2019) that investigate the effects of a specific form of critical thinking, systems-thinking, on audit judgments. Systems-thinking emphasizes taking a holistic "big picture" perspective and understanding how parts of complex processes interact and function. Collectively, the three studies find that systems-thinking can lead to auditors better understanding the risk of material misstatement through improved risk assessment and information processing. Ultimately, these improvements in critical thinking also increased the likelihood of identifying incorrect management explanations and incorporation of comprehensive information into audit decisions. Importantly, these studies find that systems-thinking can be instilled through short tutorial sessions which may be embedded directly into the audit process.

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