The effectiveness of professional scepticism training for auditors in China: evidence from a university in China*

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China Journal of Accounting Studies



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Accounting students, audit, China, professional scepticism, training methodology


© 2016, © 2016 Accounting Society of China. This paper investigates the effectiveness of scepticism training for auditors on accounting major students at a Chinese university, taken as a proxy for new accounting staff. We used the award-winning KPMG training case materials designed to enhance professional judgement, and measured scepticism using six factors developed by Hurtt (2010): autonomy, self-esteem, questioning-mind, suspension-of-judgment, search-for-knowledge, and interpersonal-understanding. We instructed one group of students to complete the KPMG scepticism training case while a second group did not. Although the trained group was more sceptical in terms of autonomy, the difference between the two groups in scepticism score for the other five factors was insignificant. These results indicate that a single KPMG training course used in the US may be ineffective for training auditor scepticism in China. Arguably, that training material should include culturally sensitive materials, and the Hurtt scale is not domain specific and therefore may have resulted in measurement error. The scale measures broad stable psychological traits. The scale questions need to be modified to be more specific to the auditing task, and the training materials need to be enhanced to incorporate the cultural predispositions of Chinese students.

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