AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Examining the Performance of Multidisciplinary Greenhouse Gas Assurance Engagement Teams

by Erboon Ekasingh

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Accounting
Year: 2015
Keywords: Multidisciplinary team; GHG assurance; Audit judgment and decision making
Record ID: 1068508
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54106


The growing pressure for public disclosure on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions has led to a significant demand for assurance on GHG statements. Given the complexity of GHG assurance, the international GHG assurance standard requires multidisciplinary GHG assurance teams (MDGHGTs) comprising practitioners from accounting and non-accounting background to discuss and assesses the risks of material misstatements in the planning stage of the engagement. However, prior research highlights the difficulties, including impaired effectiveness, associated with integrating practitioners from a range of disciplines, and as such suggests the importance of identifying mechanisms to ensure the effectiveness of MDGHGTs is not impaired. This dissertation addresses the effectiveness of MDGHGTs through two studies. Study One utilises a retrospective recall approach to explore the factors that GHG assurers perceive could affect the effectiveness of MDGHGTs. This study finds that team processes are crucial to the success of MDGHGTs. In particular, having sufficient elaboration on different perspectives significantly increases the perceived effectiveness of MDGHGTs. This study also finds that the perceived sufficiency of elaboration increases when MDGHGTs become more educationally diverse, while the perceived sufficiency of discussion time decreases when the MDGHGTs become larger. Study Two focuses on MDGHGT processes through a controlled experiment examining the effect of three team formats (nominal, interacting and review teams), on MDGHGT risk assessment performance. This study finds that accountant and non-accountant practitioners differ in the types of risks they generate, supporting the need for additional expertise over and above that provided by an accountant assurer. However, this study also finds that while review and nominal teams achieve a similar performance level in the GHG risk assessment task, MDGHGTs do not benefit from performing this task in an interactive manner. These findings suggest that MDGHGTs may not be able to capitalise on the benefits of the diverse knowledge and perspectives brought to the team by individual team members due to process losses occurring when these perspectives require discussion and reconciliation by the team. These findings thereby have implications for the team processes employed by assurance firms undertaking GHG assurance.