We conduct an experiment to investigate the effects of early versus late warning of impending time constraints, as well as the presence of instructions to think out of the box on auditors' time-constrained performance. We find that forewarning auditors during audit planning of impending time constraints (i.e., early warning) leads to better time-constrained performance on an inventory task. The incremental benefit of warning is greater when auditors are explicitly instructed to think out of the box. We find that the mechanism by which the joint effects of forewarning and instructions improve auditors' performance is via their allocation of time to effective audit tests that enable them to meet the audit objectives.

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