The Effects of Certain Internal Audit Variables on the Planning of External Audit Programs

A. Rashad Abdel-Khalik, Doug Snowball, John H. Wragge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three EDP-audit techniques (Integrated Test Facility, Test Data, and Generalized Audit Software) and two organizational variables (the level to which the internal auditing department reports and the internal auditor's level of responsibility in reviewing changes in application programs) were employed in two experiments to assess their effects on the judgments made by external auditors in planning audit programs. Each of the two experiments was conducted in a small-group setting where auditors (seniors and managers in CPA firms) made repeated judgments about internal auditing systems having the above-mentioned properties. Analysis of these judgments utilized single and multiple analysis of variance. The findings indicate that: (1) the administrative level to which the head of the internal auditing department reports (a surrogate for independence) was clearly a dominant factor; (2) each of the three EDP-audit techniques was of equal importance in the judgments made, but none was more important than the level of organizational independence of the internal audit staff; (3) intra-judge consistency was very high and was not affected by a small group discussion that simulated the activity that characterizes audit teams; and (4) inter-judge consistency was moderate.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalAccounting Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • Internal audits
  • Financial audits
  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Internal auditor independence
  • Tests of compliance
  • Management audits
  • Internal controls


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