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Sany Dwita

First Name: Sany
Surname: Dwita
Department Dept of Accounting and Corporate Governance
Supervisor(s): Chris Patel , Rahat Munir

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Paper Title

The Influence of Client-Gender and Auditor-Gender on Auditors’ Judgments: Evidence from Javanese and Minangkabau in Indonesia

Purpose

To examine the influence of client-gender and auditor-gender on accounting students’ and practicing auditors’ professional judgments of two important ethnic groups in Indonesia namely, Javanese and Minangkabau, on client-provided explanations. This paper tests three major hypotheses: (1) compared to male subjects, female subjects are more likely to be influenced by client-provided explanations; (2) subjects are less likely to be influenced by client-provided explanations offered by a female compared to a male client representative; and (3) the male-favourable influence of client-provided explanations is more likely to be greater for female than male subjects. The paper also examines the claimed homogeneity in values and judgments among accountants in Islamic countries.

Originality

This study examines contextual influences on accounting which has attracted increasing interest of researchers due to the move towards globalisation and convergence of accounting and accountability. This study focuses on Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, to provide evidence to reject the simplistic assumption of homogeneity in values and judgments of accountants that has largely dominated research in Islamic countries. Importantly, auditors’ professional judgments have not been rigorously examined in Indonesia. Furthermore, previous accounting studies in Islamic countries have also largely overlooked the influence of gender on professional judgments. For example, findings in Anglo-American contexts have suggested that females demonstrate more ethical judgements compared to their males counterparts. As such, researchers have assumed that these findings are equally applicable to other countries including Indonesia.

Key literature/theoretical perspective

This paper uses a holistic approach in theory development and hypotheses formulation by drawing from relevant contextual factors namely, historical, anthropological, sociological, social, political, and economic factors including Sharia’ (Islamic laws) and adat (local custom). This study also invokes some theoretical aspects of organisational culture especially the socialisation process in accounting firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected using a survey questionnaire distributed to practicing auditors and university accounting students in Jakarta and Padang. The questionnaire comprised a relevant and reliable inventory obsolescence scenario selected from previous studies. The participants were asked to assume the role of an audit manager and to evaluate whether client-provided explanations would resolve a potential inventory overvaluation problem that had been detected in the client’s finished goods inventory. Participants were also informed that the client’s CFO was going to address the obsolescence issue. Judgments of participants were measured by their final recommended inventory write-down amounts.

Findings

Findings of this study provide partial support for the hypotheses with respect to students’ judgments. Findings show that ethnicity of accounting students influences their gender-based judgments. Especially, findings show that gender has significant influence on students’ judgments within Indonesia. Therefore homogeneity in values and judgments of accounting students cannot be assumed even within a country such as Indonesia. However, the influence of organisational culture of accounting firms had reduced differences in gender-based judgments among practicing auditors. This is shown by the findings that differences in judgments of male and female practicing auditors of Javanese and Minangkabau were not significant.

Research limitations/implications

The usual limitations of survey method apply for this study. Findings of this study with respect to accounting students have implications for accounting education within Indonesia. The findings may also be useful for accounting firms, for example in audit team allocation and in designing training programs.

Practical and Social implications

The findings have implications for convergence of accounting and auditing standards, particularly in Islamic countries. The results of this study may interest the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA), and the International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) in relation to convergence of accounting and auditing standards, and in harmonisation of accounting and auditing education.

Keywords

Indonesia, Islam, gender, judgments, and contextual factors