We interviewed 30 assurance professionals in the United States regarding how and to what extent non-Big 4 firms incorporated technologies into assurance engagements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Informed by technology acceptance models, our findings show that the pandemic played an accelerator role, prompting an open attitude toward experimenting with technologies in assurance engagements. This experimentation increased perceptions of the usefulness of technology in engagement efficiency, given easier and faster evidence gathering. However, the readiness and security of clients’ systems remain barriers in evidence gathering. Assurance professionals perceive technology as useful in producing better quality evidence evaluation, with usage stymied by challenges related to source data integrity, naive use of tools, and distrust of outputs limiting the extent of change in evidence evaluation. Our study indicates more modest technology gains in evidence evaluation than in evidence gathering during the pandemic due to barriers with higher stakes, often tied to assurance conclusions.

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