ABSTRACT

This paper considers the use of an emerging technology based on formal evidential reasoning to help audit quality assurers conduct higher-quality inspections of audit engagements. Although the ideas should be relevant to the inspection process in general, we focus on PCAOB stated objectives and procedures and, as an illustration, the inspection of Satyam Computer Services Limited. To enhance audit quality assurance (AQA), we propose and illustrate a portion of a prototype technology that uses formal evidential reasoning to help assess audit quality. The use of a formal evidential reasoning model and a structured process should provide better documented and more precise, consistent, and rigorous AQA assessments of risk, of the sufficiency and competency of audit evidence collected, and of various auditor judgments. The potential of this technology is illustrated by evaluating the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's (PCAOB) inspection of Satyam Computer Services Limited, in particular the assessment of the risk of financial statement misstatement due to either unintentional or intentional misstatements. The illustration suggests that the proposed technology is likely to facilitate an enhanced inspection of audit quality. By implication, we assert that use of such technology will result in other enhancements to AQA.

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