Auditor Process Accountability And Epistemic Motivation: Principles Versus Rules-Based Accounting Standards

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Executive Summary

The author examines how the nature of accounting standards - principles- versus rules-based - influences auditors' perceptions of process accountability and their epistemic motivation. Using a between-subjects experiment with 104 auditors from a Big?]4 audit firm, they find that principles-based accounting standards significantly increase auditors' perceptions of process accountability when they examine both structured and unstructured accounting transactions. They confirm a mediation model in which greater process accountability caused by principles based standards in turn increases auditors' epistemic motivation - the desire to develop and maintain a rich and accurate understanding of the problem at hand.

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