Prior research suggests oversight inspections lead to unintended consequences by motivating auditors to manage inspection risk. The current study provides evidence of the impact of a misalignment between inspection and mis-statement risks at the account level, where planning decisions are made. We predict auditors feel pressures to address more immediate inspection risks at the expense of adequately responding to mis-statement risks as prescribed by auditing standards. Employing an experiment with 182 experienced auditors, we manipulate account-level inspection risk (low or high). As hypothesized, auditors plan more hours for an account with higher inspection risk and correspondingly assign fewer audit hours to other accounts with lower inspection risk, even if mis-statement risk is high for those accounts, suggesting an unwarranted shift in audit efforts. Our findings suggest inspection risks impair auditors’ effort allocation decisions and thus may undermine the audit risk model as the normative benchmark for program planning.

Data Availability: Contact the corresponding author.

JEL Classifications: M42; M48.

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