The Auditor's Approach to Subsequent Events: Insights from the Academic Literature

Document Type



Contextual Factors; Cognitive Processing Strategies; Heuristics and Biases; Subsequent Events Judgment Process

Identifier Data


American Accounting Association

Publication Source

Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory

Rights Management

Must link to published article with DOI; Published source must be acknowledged with citation


Approximately one-third of the PCAOB's inspection reports and several SEC enforcement releases identify deficiencies in the audit of subsequent events (SEs). Despite these issues, little research has been conducted to understand how and why these deficiencies occur. This paper integrates the psychology and behavioral accounting literatures to develop a model of the factors that influence the effectiveness of SE audit procedures. The model suggests that the effectiveness of these procedures is largely influenced by the auditor's cognitive processing mode, which is initially affected by environmental, individual, and task-specific factors. Our model provides a theoretical basis for future research into the causes of these deficiencies and suggests potential mitigating strategies that auditors can employ to improve the effectiveness of the audit of SEs. We conclude with a discussion of the implications arising from the model for professionals, standard setters, and researchers.