|dc.description.abstract||The revaluation of non-current assets has become an accepted accounting practice in many countries including the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. This practice has implications for the external auditor who must decide whether to accept a valuation as reasonable and how much evidence to collect to support the decision. This thesis represents the first study to examine audit decision making in this area.
Because of the absence of prior research, a series of structured interviews was undertaken with audit partners to identify the main audit issues. The results of these interviews, together with the relevant literature, were used to identify some of the factors that may impact on audit judgments concerning revalued assets. Hypotheses were developed and two complementary experiments were designed to test them. These were based on the premise that client management may be motivated to revalue in order to improve the appearance of the balance sheet, thereby increasing the inherent risk of misstatement. A 2 x 2 between-subjects design was used for both experiments, and the dependent variables measured were estimates of the planned audit hours to be spent on the revalued assets and likelihood judgments that the valuations would be accepted as reasonable.
Experiment One considered the situation where auditors are faced with two conflicting risks which are likely to exist simultaneously in the audit environment. These were the threat of litigation arising from the client's breach of a debt covenant and the risk of losing the client. The study examined auditors' responses to high and low levels of these risks on the audit of revalued owner-occupied property and an investment property. For the planned audit hours, results indicated a strong interaction effect between the two factors, with auditors planning to spend significantly more time on the audit of revalued assets when both the risk of breaching a debt covenant was high and the risk of losing the client was low. Similar results were found for the likelihood judgment that the valuations would be accepted as reasonable, except that for the investment property the results were only marginally significant.
Experiment Two examined the impact of a proposal to issue shares to the public and the competence of the independent valuer on the audit of four classes of non-current assets. Results indicated that auditors would plan to spend longer on the audit of revalued assets when the client proposed to make a share issue and also when the competence of the valuer was lower. They were also less likely to accept the valuations as reasonable in these cases. However, an interaction effect between class of asset and competence of the valuer indicated that concern with some aspects of the evidence could override subjects' sensitivity to the competence of the valuer. An additional finding was a significant experience effect for the likelihood judgments, based on the number of audits, in which subjects had been involved, that had included asset revaluations. More experienced subjects were more likely than less experienced subjects to accept the valuations as reasonable.||en