The ISA 700 Auditor’s Report and the Audit Expectation Gap – Do Additional Explanations Matter?

A.H. Gold, C. Pott, U. Gronewold

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Abstract

In this paper we test the effectiveness of explanations as mandated by the revised ISA 700 auditor's report in reducing the audit expectation gap. German auditors and financial statement users participated in an experiment where they read a summary of a firm's financial statements and an auditor's report, the latter of which we manipulated as being the auditor's report including the explanations as mandated by ISA 700 versus a mere audit opinion-only version. We elicited participants' perceptions about auditor versus management responsibilities and financial statement reliability. We find strong evidence for a persistent expectation gap with respect to the auditor's responsibilities. Meanwhile, auditors and users reach a reasonable belief consensus regarding management's responsibilities and financial statement reliability. Most notably, explanations of the ISA 700 auditor's report do not result in a smaller expectation gap. Our findings suggest that the audit opinion alone may signal sufficient relevant information to users. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-307
JournalInternational Journal of Auditing
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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