The purpose of this study is to guide practice and future research by examining contemporary fraud brainstorming practices. Using field data collected from audits conducted during 2013–2014, we investigate team characteristics, attendance and communication, brainstorming structure, timing, and effort, and brainstorming quality. Results show that although some practices are similar to those reported in earlier field studies, there are interesting differences (e.g., decreased use of checklists, shorter sessions, and risk-based deployment of resources in brainstorming). These differences suggest brainstorming has evolved throughout the intervening period during which new audit standards became effective and the PCAOB criticized auditors' performance in fraud risk identification and risk response generation. We also examine differences in audit team characteristics and brainstorming practices across risk and trading-status partitions. Results reveal auditors deploy more resources to brainstorming when engagement risk is heightened (i.e., publicly traded clients with high fraud and/or high inherent risk); correspondingly, brainstorming quality is higher on these engagements. Collectively, our findings indicate risk-based resource allocations in brainstorming and diligent responses to regulatory concerns.

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