The Evaluation of Internal Controls Over Payroll

By Robert E. HamiltonWilliam F. Wright
1977| Working Paper No. 397

Auditors’ evaluations of internal control over payroll systems based on profiles of system characteristics were studied using a quasi-experimental research design. Specific topics considered here included inter-auditor agreement (consensus), predictability of auditor judgments, including relative emphasis on specific internal control characteristics, and the degree of self-insight possessed by auditors concerning how they were weighting and combining information to generate their evaluations. Experience was hypothesized to be positively correlated with measures of consensus, predictability and self-insight and therefore a broader range of experience levels was included here compared with previous studies. The results for 17 practicing auditors from a national CPA firm revealed positive associations. A possible explanation based on more homogeneous training and experience for more experienced auditors is provided. The evidence for the relatively inexperienced CPA’s (defined as - < 3 years experience) was generally consistent with the results reported by Ashton [1974a, 1974b] for a group of subjects with similar levels of experience.