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Can expertise mitigate auditors’ unintentional biases?

Guiral, Andres; Rodgers, Waymond; Ruiz, Emiliano; Gonzalo-Angulo, Jose A.


Andres Guiral

Emiliano Ruiz

Jose A. Gonzalo-Angulo


It is important for both academics and practitioners to understand how biases influence auditing opinions, as well as how we might counteract those biases. According to moral seduction theory, auditors’ judgments are morally induced by conflicts of interest in an unconscious manner. We combined an auditor ethical decision-making model with an expertise model in a laboratory experiment with European auditors to demonstrate that expertise helps to mitigate unconscious reporting bias in the going-concern setting. Our findings suggest that while problem-solving ability reinforces the auditors’ public watchdog function, task-specific experience reduces their fear of provoking the self-fulfilling prophecy effect. Our contribution to the literature is timely since the European Green Paper on Auditing is ignoring auditor education, learning, and training as potentially effective ways to enhance audit quality and increase professional skepticism.


Guiral, A., Rodgers, W., Ruiz, E., & Gonzalo-Angulo, J. A. (2015). Can expertise mitigate auditors’ unintentional biases?. Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, 24, 105-117.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Mar 6, 2015
Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date May 16, 2019
Journal Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation
Print ISSN 1061-9518
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Pages 105-117
Keywords Auditing; Conflicts of interest; Unintentional bias; Expertise; Self-fulfilling prophecy effect; Moral seduction theory
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Can expertise mitigate auditors’ unintentional biases?; Journal Title: Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.