Prior archival and experimental studies provide conflicting results regarding the extent to which audit program plans are responsive to client risks, as prescribed by the Audit Risk Model. The purpose of this study is to corroborate and extend archival research on this issue by considering a broader set of client risks and incorporating a number of methodological improvements. Data were gathered on risk assessments and evidential plans in the accounts receivable area from the working papers of 74 randomly selected manufacturing clients (42 general manufacturing and 32 high‐technology manufacturing).
The results indicate a statistical association between the level of and changes in a limited number of assessed client risks (e.g., management aggressiveness and the inherent risk of an existence misstatement) and evidential plans. In addition, audit programs were found to change little over time with many tests done across a broad array of engagements. Overall, the responsiveness of evidential plans to risks, although limited, was found to be greater in the present study than prior research. These results, which generally replicate prior research, indicate the lack of a strong relationship between client risks and audit programs and thus raise a number of important questions for audit theory, practice and training.