Pressure, Dysfunctional Behavior, Fraud Detection and Role of Information Technology in the Audit Process
Umar, Muhammad; Sitorus, Shinta Megawati; Surya, Rika Lusiana; Shauki, Elvia R.; and Diyanti,
Vera, Pressure, Dysfunctional Behavior, Fraud Detection and Role of Information Technology in the
Audit Process, Australasian Accounting , Business and Finance Journal
Pressure, Dysfunctional Behavior, Fraud Detection and Role of Information Technolog y in the Audit Process
Vera Diyanti 0 1 2 3 4 5
0 Rika Lusiana Surya University of Indonesia , Indonesia
1 Shinta Megawati Sitorus University of Indonesia , Indonesia
2 Muhammad Umar University of Indonesia , Indonesia.
3 University of Indonesia , Indonesia
4 Elvia R. Shauki University of Indonesia , Indonesia
5 JEL Classification: G38, M42, L51
Behavior, Fraud Detection and Role of
Information Technology in the Audit
Muhammad Umar1, Shinta Megawati Sitorus2, Rika Lusiana Surya3, Elvia R. Shauki4, and
This study examines the effect of information technology and pressure such as time budget and task
complexity on dysfunctional audit behavior. This study tests whether dysfunctional audit behavior
affects fraud detection. Data were gathered from 81 auditors in Jakarta and were analyzed using
structure equation model (SEM). The results explain that pressure (time budget and complexity task)
have some impacts on dysfunctional audit behavior while information technology does not affect
dysfunctional audit behavior. These results also indicate that dysfunctional audit behavior has an
adverse effect on fraud detection. Job-related stress framework explains the conditions that make
stress (stressors) will affect to individual psychology, physics, and behavior (strains) and make some
result (outcome). Pressure (time budget and complexity task) is the condition that makes both
positive and negative effect on individual behavior. Pressure can make individuals behave
dysfunctional or motivate them to give their best shot even though their work uses a lot of energy
and mind to solve the problems. Raising dysfunctional audit behavior will reduce auditor’s ability to
identify material misstatement in the financial statement.
and time budget pressure.
1 University of Indonesia, Indonesia.
2 University of Indonesia, Indonesia.
3 University of Indonesia, Indonesia.
4 University of Indonesia, Indonesia.
5 University of Indonesia, Indonesia.
Fraud is a problematic phenomenon in the world which has a lot of effects to economic sectors
. A survey from PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 2009 revealed that 30% of all of the
companies had faced criminalization economic in past 12 months with a huge loss in business
(Gullkvist and Jokipii, 2013)
Some fraud cases were conducted by companies such as Enron, Parmalat, Maxwell, Flowtex
case, Vivendi, and Baan. This cases were controversial and affect auditor profession because of audit
(Bollen, Mertens, & Meuwissen, 2005; Hassink et al., 2009)
. Auditor is an important
profession within society since they provide an appraisal toward companies’ financial statement
(Hassink et al., 2009). Nevertheless, auditor behavior gets a lot of attention from society because of
(Baldacchino et al., 2016)
Audit failure may be caused by dysfunctional behavior from auditors. This behavior happens
while auditors are doing their work and make them hard to identify material misstatement in client
(Nor, 2011; Baldacchino et al., 2016)
. The aim of this research is to examine the
effect of dysfunctional audit behavior toward auditor’s ability in fraud detection. Also, this research
aims to derive empirical results on the effect of pressure such as time budget and task complexity
and also want to test information technology on dysfunctional audit behaviors.
Dysfunctional audit behavior can reduce audit quality directly and indirectly. Reducing audit
quality directly is such as insufficient gathering audit evidence, changing audit procedure and
(Alderman and Deitrick, 1982; Svanberg and Ohman, 2016)
. On the other hand,
audit behavior which has an indirect effect on reducing audit quality is under-reporting time.
There are many factors that influence dysfunctional audit behavior. Job-related stress
frameworks explain that pressure such as time budget and complex task can change individual’s
behavior. Time budget pressure is one of many factors. Time budget pressure occurs when auditors
have time limitation in conducting audit program. The time limitation is given by accounting firm in
doing audit procedure
Another factor is task complexity. This factor can decrease the quality of decision-making
and spend more time in decision making (Chen et al., 2015). Task complexity is auditor’s perception
related to a task performed with ability limitation, memory limitation, and limitation of analyzing
. Task complexity may cause auditors to commit disadvantage behaviors
because of raising workload so that they cannot provide high-quality audit assessment
(Yuen et al.,
Information technology has a significant effect toward audit planning, audit process, audit
assessment and audit documentation. Dysfunctional behavior may reduce caused by high technology
which makes auditors improve their performance in understanding client’s key business (Bierstaket
et al., 2001).
Based on the explanation above, this study observes the dysfunctional behavior and fraud
detection topics. Detection fraud variable is added in this research, and it will be the contribution of
this study. The argument is because dysfunctional audit behavior has some effect on the audit quality
and the ability of the auditors in fraud detection. Audit quality has a close
relationship with an ability of auditor to find and report any fraud in client’s accounting system
Related to job-related stress literature, this study extends a research from Mcnamara and
Liyanarachchi (2008) who examined the relationship between time budget pressure (stressor) and
dysfunctional behavior (strain) in identifying organizational stress literature. This study adds fraud
detection to provide the whole description of job-related stress that consists of stressor, strain, and
By surveying the auditors who work in public accounting firm in Jakarta, as a capital city
Jakarta was chosen because Jakarta has the most widely public accounting firms in Indonesia.
Therefore, this study applies Structural Equation Model (SEM) since measurement of endogen and
exogen variable is created by several indicator variables or factor/construct
(as proposed by Ghozali,
In the second part, this study discusses literature review and hypothesis development. In third
part and fourth part, it talks about research method and result. Fifth and sixth part will be talking
about discussion and summary.
2. Literature Review
2.1 Job-Related Stress Model
Cooper et al. (2001)
argue that there are three parts of job-related stress concept. They are stressors,
strains, and outcome. Stressors are the conditions that make stress. Stressor will affect to individual’s
psychology, physics, and behavior (strains) and make some result (outcome).
work pressure refers to characteristics of the work environment and threat individual behavior
(George and Zakkarya, 2015)
There are various stressors in auditor's work environment. Time budget pressure situation is a
model of work stress and resembles the core relationship identified in the organizational stress
(Mcnamara and Liyanarachchi, 2008)
.Besides, another factor of stress occurs when
auditors have a variety of problems due to the complexity of tasks and the changing of the work
(Liu and Li, 2012)
. Job complexity is associated with stressors that comprise an
individual's job or called “task content”
(O'Driscoll and Cooper, 2002)
. Complexity and pressure are
the causes of stress received by auditors and have some effects on individual behavior. Such pressure
may lead to dysfunctional behavior by auditors
Dysfunctional behaviors have a relationship on auditor's ability to detect fraud. This
behaviour is consistent with the job-related stress concept from
Cooper et al. (2001)
as described by
Mcnamara and Liyanarachchi (2008) who describes that one of the causes of stress (stressors) is the
pressure. The impact is, there has a potentially a dysfunctional behavior of the auditors (strains) so
that it can affect the ability of the audit in working as the output (outcome).
2.2 Stress Factors and Dysfunctional Audit Behavior
Time budget pressure is time constraints that are arising or may arise from the limited resources
(time) allocated for the performance of audit tasks
(DeZoort and Lord 1997)
. This constraint may
give pressure for auditors because of the time that is given by the public accounting firm to
complete the audit task, and these have some impact to declining the quality of decisions made by
auditors (Svanstrom, 2015)
The auditors can respond pressure in two ways; either in functional behavior or dysfunctional
behavior. Auditors who behave functionally tends to provide extra energy to complete the task and
charge the audit cost for the performance. However, if the auditors behave dysfunctionally, the
quality of the audit will decrease either it directly or indirectly.
(McNamara and Liyanarachchi,
The dysfunctional behavior performed by the auditor are such as reducing or replacing some
(Lopez and Peters, 2011)
and ineffective collection of audit evidence (Svanstrom,
2015). Some researchers were conducted to examine the relationship between the time budget
pressures on audit quality and underreporting time.
argue that if the time budget is hard
to achieve, the dysfunctional audit behavior will increase.
Coram et al. (2004)
use the experimental method with a sample of 103 senior auditors. They
found that auditors typically tend to perform dysfunction behavior when the time budget pressures
come in. The dysfunctional behavior increases when risks perceptions of misstatement are small.
Therefore the hypothesis is proposed as follow:
H1: Time budget pressures have a positive impact on the irregularities of audit behavior.
Another stress factor in the workplace is the complexity of the task. The task
complexity leads to difficulties in the audit process when the auditor is confronted with this situation.
So that the quality of decisions is also small if they evaluate much information rather than evaluating
(Chan et al., 2015)
reveals three reasons for the importance of task
complexity in the audit environment. First, complexity task has an impact on the auditor's
performance. Second, current decisions and training can enhance understanding because of
conducting a variety of works. Third, understanding complex tasks can help management to find the
right decision between audit staff and audit assignments
(Chung and Monroe, 1998)
notes that the complexity of audit tasks can force decision maker’s mentality.
The complexity of the task can increase the workload so that it can reduce the quality of the decision.
Therefore, the higher the level of task complexity will affect to the workload that allows the auditor
to perform dysfunctional because the auditor is difficult to provide an audit assessment
(Yuen et al.,
. Thus, the hypothesis is proposed as follows:
H2: The complexity of the task has a positive impact on the dysfunctional audit behavior.
2.3 Information Technology and Dysfunctional Audit Behavior
In this era, technology has a major role in the audit process. The digital age forces auditors to better
understand and learn about sophisticated information technology. According to ISA 315, auditors
need to gain their understanding of information technology and control systems in conducting audits
Technology has changed the audit process on a large scale because the auditor will use
software as a tool to collect electronic evidence. It will be increasingly effective and efficient. It will
reduce pressures because technology facilitates the audit work in the planning process, field works,
(Bierstaker et al., 2001)
Basically, information technology is a tool to make the auditor job easier. It will be more
efficient, and the workload of the auditor will be reduced
(Eining et al., 1997; Zakaria et al., 2013)
Reduced pressure due to the use of technology makes auditors easier in the audit process. Thus,
dysfunctional behavior that reduces audit quality may decline as technology makes the audit process
more efficient and effective. Therefore, the hypothesis is:
H3: Information technology has negative effects on dysfunctional audit behavior.
2.4 The effect of dysfunctional audit behavior on the auditor's ability to detect fraud
Auditors often perform such as dysfunctional behavior in doing audit process. The dysfunctional
audit behavior is an auditor's action or behavior when conducting audit programs that directly and
indirectly mitigate the quality of the audit
(Donelly et al., 2011; Paino et al., 2011)
The effect of reducing audit quality will reduce the auditor’s ability to detect fraud. It is due
to audit quality and fraud detection have a close relationship. Audit quality is measured by auditor’s
ability to detect, report and eliminate material misstatement in client accounting system.
H4: Dysfunctional audit behavior has a negative effect on auditor’s ability to detect fraud.
3. Research Methodology
This study applies quantitative method with sending online questionnaire survey. Data was
collected from external auditors who work in Jakarta because the number of auditors located in this
city more representative and also readily available for researchers. The auditor who involved in the
general audit of financial statements were selected because they are assumed to have the potential
related to the research variables.
This study initially used the pilot study to PPIA student of University of Indonesia year of
2016 to test the feasibility form of a question on our questionnaire. Furthermore, the questionnaire
was sent out by e-mail contains two attachments to the auditor in 77 KAP located in the city of
Jakarta. The rest amount of surveys were sent out by continuous network or chains of relationship
from friends to friends by social media. Finally, this study received 81 questionnaires to analyse the
data. Details of demographics are presented in Table 1.
3.2 Data Analysis
Structural Equation Model (SEM) with AMOS software to analyze the data. In the analysis of
Structural Equation Model variables can be distinguished into a latent variable (exogenous variables
and endogenous variables) and observed variable. Time budget pressure, task complexity, and
information technology are the exogenous latent variables, for the endogenous latent variables there
is a dysfunctional auditor behavior, and fraud detection.
Measurement of exogenous variable such as time budget pressure was adopted from
and Sweeney (2004)
. Measurement of complexity task was adopted and modified from Maynard and
Hakel (2009), and information technology was adopted and modified from Utary (2015).
Measurement Endogen variable such as dysfunctional audit behavior was adopted from
while fraud detection was adopted from
Fullerton and Durtschi (2004)
. Details of
measurement are presented in Table 2.
All items of the questions are measured using the Likert interval scale 1 to 4. The time budget
pressure divided into four observed variables measured using the Likert interval scale, 1 for never, 2
for sometimes, 3 for often and 4 for always. There are four observed variables for task complexity
and measured using the Likert interval scale, 1 for strongly disagree, 2 for disagree, 3 for agree and 4
for strongly agree. Information technology has two observed variables measured using the Likert
interval scale, 1 for strongly disagree, 2 for disagree, 3 for agree and 4 for strongly agree.
There are 13 observed variables for dysfunctional auditor behavior and measured using the
Likert interval scale, 1 for never, 2 for sometimes, 3 for often and 4 for always. Fraud detection
contained seven observed variables and measured using the Likert interval scale, 1 for no extending
the search, 2 for slightly extending the search, 3 for more extending the search, and 4 for much more
extending the search. There are seven steps that must be followed on Structural Equation Model
(SEM) which is outlined as follows: (1) development of concept-based model and theory; (2)
construct the path diagram; (3) path diagram converted to structural model; (4) input matrix selected;
(5) model initial estimation and evaluation of Goodness of Fit; (6) estimates between model and
comparator indicator; and (7) model interpretation.
Table 2 - Measurement of variables
Pierce and Sweeney (2004)
1. The auditor perceives the audit time budget as an obstacle to the
implementation or completion of certain audit procedures.
2. Auditor perceives the implementation or completion of certain audit
procedures within the audit budget time limit is hard to accomplish.
3. Auditor perceives the audit time budget for the implementation of a
particular audit procedure is insufficient.
4. Auditor perceives audit time budget for the implementation of certain audit
procedures is very tight.
Adopted and modified from Maynard and Hakel (2009).
1. The task needs a lot of thought and ability to solve the problems.
2. The task is challenging and demanding.
3. Motivated to give the best performance on the task.
4. Task requires a lot of effort into coming up with the best possible solution.
Adopted and modified from Utary (2015)
1. The ability to use the software in performing audit tasks is important to the
2. Team members who understand in technology will help (important for
auditors) in performing audit tasks.
Pierce and Sweeney (2004)
1. Premature sign off of audit procedures.
2. Making external reviews of client documents.
3. Testing of some sample items.
4. The auditor does not extend the scope of testing when detects a
questionable post or account.
5. Receive short client explanations.
6. The auditor does not investigate the suitability of the client's accounting
7. Reduces audit work from audit program.
8. Changing or replacing audit procedures.
9. Relying on client work.
10. Reduced audit evidence documentation.
11. Auditor reports a shorter audit time than the actual time.
12. Under report time by working on personal time.
13. Redirecting audit times for specific clients to other clients.
Fullerton and Durtschi (2004)
1. An unexpected change in the firm's external auditors.
2. The controller was making a lot of adjusting entries the week before the
external auditors arrived.
3. There was a significant adjustment to correct the inventory account after the
year-end physical count.
4. There was an unusual number of receivables that were written off.
5. Miscellaneous administrative expenses increased about 40 percent for the
year, with a corresponding drop in sales.
6. The marketing director has a weak explanation for why advertising costs
have almost doubled in the past year.
7. The gross margin in the last quarter dropped about 20 percent.
4.1 Analysing Structure Equation Model
Normality test and multicollinearity test were conducted before analyzing the effect of all variables.
Based on our observation in assessment of normality from AMOS output, the value of critical ratio
skewness (C.R) and kurtosis in our data have a higher score than ± 2.58. It explains that our data is
standard in distribution in univariate or multivariate. Afterward, in a sample of correlation, there is
no variable which has a value higher than 0.90. It concludes that there is no multicolinierity in our
data or no perfect correlation in independent variables. Thus, our data is fit to analyzing the
4.2 Confirmatory Factors Analysis
The high value of factor loading concludes convergence, standardized loading estimate has to be
more than 0.5. In our first SEM model, some of the indicator variables have factor loading value
under 0.5. Thus this study drops these indicator variables which are under 0.5. Table 3 shows factor
loading from observed variables that can be used to measure exogenous and endogenous variables.
Loading factor for an observed variable is more than 0.5.
The requirement for standardized loading estimate is more than 0.5 to conclude convergence. Factor loading
value under 0.5 means that the indicator has to be dropped from measurement indicator.
Source: AMOS output
Table 4 explains the result of the model. The model was not fit in the first test, it modified the
model with seeing modification indices. Covariance line in error of the observed variable was given
as based on the suggestion from modification indices. Subsequently, a value which meets the
requirement of fit model was received. After modification, the value of chi-square is few, and the
probability is more than significant level (0.05). RMSEA value is fewer than 0.08, and CFI value is
more than 0.90. It means that our model is fit and it can be used to predict the effect of exogenous
variable on endogenous variables.
Model per scale
Exogen Variable Before Modification
Exogen Variable After Modification
Endogen Variable Before Modification
Endogen Variable After Modification
SEM Before Modification
SEM After Modification
X2: Chi-square is to test whether the population variance that is estimated equal to the sample covariance.
(The value must be a few); Df: degree of freedom; P: Probability is test of significance to the difference of
data covariance matrix with estimated covariance matrix (Value ≥ 0.05); X2/df: Chi-square divided degree of
freedom; RMSEA: The Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (0.08 ≥ Value); CFI: Comparative Fit
Index is test of model feasibility (Value ≥ 0.94).
Source: AMOS output
4.2 Estimation Parameter value
DF ← DAB
*** Significance at 1%. ** Significance at 5%, * Significance at 10%
DAB: Dysfunctional Audit Behavior; TBP: Time Budget Pressure; CT: Complexity Task; IT: Information
Technology; DF: Fraud Detection;
Source: AMOS output
Table 5 explains that three paths in equation model are significant. They are time budget
pressure to dysfunctional audit behavior, task complexity to dysfunctional audit behavior, and
dysfunctional audit behavior to fraud detection. Meanwhile, a path is not significant. It is information
technology to dysfunctional audit behavior
Time budget pressure is significantly positive to dysfunctional audit behavior with
probability values is 0,056. It is fewer than significant level 0.10 (≤0.10). The positive effect can be
seen from the coefficient value which is 0,257. Complexity task is significantly detrimental to
dysfunctional audit behavior with probability values is 0,087. It is fewer than significant level 0.10
(≤0.10). The adverse effect can be seen from the coefficient value which is -0,244.
Furthermore, dysfunctional audit behavior is significantly negative with probability values is
0,017. It is fewer than significantly level 0.05 (≤0,05). The adverse effect can be seen from the
coefficient value which is -0,325. Nevertheless, information technology is not significant to
dysfunctional audit behavior with probability is 0,685. It is far higher than significant level 0,05
First Hypothesis (H1) is accepted, and it is in line with our prediction. This result support research of
McNamara and Liyanarachchi (2008)
Yuen et al. (2013)
Audit works must meet the deadline. However, time limitation from public accounting firm
can potentially make work pressure toward auditor to finish the tasks given to them and can affect
(Yuen et al., 2013)
. Time budget pressure is increasing because of the deadline so
that it can reduce auditor control environment
(McNair, 1991; Utary, 2014)
. Pressure also make
auditor be ineffectively in gathering audit evidence. As a result, it is debilitating the qualities of
auditor decision (Gundry & Liyanarachchi, 2007; Svanström, 2015).
In Job-Related stress, one major of stressor is an obligation to work under time pressure in
the particular time frame for certain tasks to meet the deadline. It has been linked to depression,
anxiety, and high level of strain
(Westman and Eden, 1992; O’driscoll and Cooper, 2002)
budget pressure can make auditors behave dysfunctionally so that can reduce the quality of audit
(McNamara and Liyanarachchi, 2008)
directly such as early sign off of audit work without gathering
sufficient evidence and completion of the procedure. Moreover, the indirectly effect of dysfunctional
behavior is underreporting time. Underreporting time lead to weak personal decision, obscures the
need for budget revision, and result in recognize time pressure on future audit (Donelly et al., 2003)
Second hypothesis (H2) is accepted but in different sign with our prediction. This research is
not supporting research of
Yuen et al. (2013)
. It might be junior auditor (66.68% respondent in this
research) work based on audit procedure that is given to them. Changing and replacing the procedure
is not their authority. They do not brave enough to change it. Junior auditor tends to listen to the
instructions from senior above their position so that audit report could be useful and efficient
GoldNoteberg et al., 2006
Job-Related stress model explained that the individual’s psychological, physical, and
behavioral responses to stressors
(Cooper et al., 2001)
. Job characteristic is one of the stressors
connected with the performance of particular task that consist of an individual's job includes job
(O’Driscoll and Cooper, 2002)
. When facing task complexity condition as a part stressor,
the auditor could behave dysfunctional as a response of stressor functional or dysfunctionally.
Auditors perceive task complexity as a challenging task, and it might motivate them to give their best
performance rather than behave dysfunctionally. They try to show their performance eventhough
they have to spend more energy and mind to finish their work
(Gardner, 1990; Scott et al., 1988;
Maynard and Hakel, 1997)
For the third hypothesis, our prediction is not accepted. Technology such as the use of
software will reduce obstacles in audit process so that the auditor will not behave dysfunctionally
because is it is not needed. Audit risk and client business risk will reduce as well because of
(Lee et al., 2015)
. Technology can make audit work to be effective and
(Bierstaker et al., 2001)
. However, there is a possibility that audit tools or software are not
available or not maximally utilized so that the benefits of audit tools and software become weak. The
technology that was initially expected to help the auditor reduce the dysfunctional behavior becomes
uninvolved because the technology or software is only used in a limited way in daily practice
(Vasarhelyi and Romero, 2014)
The fourth hypothesis is in line with our prediction. The reason is dysfunctional audit
behavior happens when auditors are doing their job. Dysfunctional audit behavior reduces auditor’s
ability to identify material misstatement in financial statement which is being audit
Baldacchino et al., 2016)
. High dysfunctional behavior will decrease audit quality so that it will
affect to auditor ability in fraud detection. Fraud detection and audit quality have a healthy
relationship. DeAngelo (1981) define audit quality as auditor ability to find and report fraud in client
accounting system. Overall, these results consistent with the job-related stress concept
Cooper et al.
as describing Mcnamara and Liyanarachchi (2008) which describes the cause of stress
(stressors) such as time budget pressure and task complexity. The impact is, the potentially
functional or dysfunctional behavior of the auditors (strains) so that can affect the ability of the audit
in working as its output (outcome).
The implication of this research is public accounting firm has to arrange budget properly, so
pressure such as time budget can be reduced. Auditors always face the complexity of the task in their
job when the pressure such the time budget often occurred in audit proses. Job relation stress model
explains that pressure could reduce the performance of auditor so that it potentially makes auditor to
behave dysfunctionally. Those pressure could make auditor take instant way to finish audit program
such as changing audit procedure, ignore audit procedure, early sign off and under reporting time.
Pressure could reduce audit quality so that, when auditor behaves dysfunctionally, they ability to
detect fraud in client financial statement will reduce.
This research is expected to extend research related to the dysfunctional audit behavior and fraud
detection. Empirical result shows that time budget pressure has a positive effect to dysfunctional
audit behavior. Moreover, task complexity have an adverse effect to dysfunctional audit behavior
meanwhile information technology does not affect dysfunctional audit behavior. Furthermore,
dysfunctional audit behavior has an adverse effect to detection fraud.
This research has some limitations. Use of questionnaire may have potential bias because the
questionnaire is sent through email and social media which everyone can fill it although they are not
an auditor. It will affect the result. On the other side, respond to the questionnaire is quite small, so
that it is hard to generalize the results. Some questions in an observed variable to measure
complexity task have some limitation. This study did not make differences between high complexity
and low complexity in the task. For further research, using another question to measure complexity
task is recommended. Further research can specifically distinguish high task complexity and small
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