This study investigates the effects of alternative methods for documenting business models on audit risk assessment behavior. We consider tabular versus diagrammatic representations of the relationship between business model components such as environmental factors, strategic goals, internal processes and resources, and financial statement accounts. Multiple scenarios based on a real company were constructed and 24 participants, including audit partners, managers, and novice auditors performed a risk assessment for each scenario, presented in either a diagrammatic or a tabular format. The participants' verbal discussions as they performed the risk assessments were tape recorded, transcribed, and coded. A content analysis of the participants' coded verbal behavior indicates that the tabular presentation appears to elicit more frequent mention of accounts by the participants, while the diagram format leads to more mentions of other business model components. There is also some evidence of expertise effects.

This study indicates that a tabular presentation can possess many of the benefits often associated with a diagrammatic representation. However, in our study, obtaining such benefits involved the deliberate structuring of the tabular presentation to organize the components of the business model and the links between them and financial statement accounts.

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