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Internal audit characteristics and managerial discretion in financial reporting

Journal of Accounting, Ethics and Public Policy. November 24, 2021

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This paper replicates and extends Barr-Pulliam’s (2019) study that examines whether the perceived objectivity of the internal audit function (IAF) moderates the effect of internal audit assurance that is more frequent—namely continuous auditing—on the perceived likelihood of earnings management. Rather than the functional separation of the IAF’s dual role, this replication manipulates whether the IAF is used as a management training ground. The results of this replication are consistent with those reported in the original study. That is, the results show an interactive effect whereby the perceived likelihood of earnings management is lower when the IAF is not a management training ground (more objective), and the IAF uses continuous relative to periodic auditing. The results suggest that reported results are robust and extend to an alternative measure of internal auditors’ perceived objectivity.