Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to summarize the scope, methodology and main findings of a doctoral thesis about engagement factors that impact the performance audit of capital projects in California. This research was taken from an agency theory perspective. Design/methodology/approach – The research study was conducted by gathering a large sample of publicly available statutorily‐required performance audits from complex capital programs, extracting factor data from the audit reports, and objectively and empirically comparing the effects of different factors on audit results. In addition, data from expenditure audits and risk‐based audits was gathered for comparison regarding audit scope. By focusing on facts, and using large samples of data to establish a view of the phenomena, in order to explain facts through testing of hypotheses, the research stance adopted was Positivist in nature. The overall research methodology employed was quantitative, and based on largely categorical data. Findings – The results identified the importance of audit methodology and scope in the performance assessment of construction projects. This research included a contribution in two spheres: auditing and procurement. Whilst prior research on program audit and performance audit was limited, the findings from this research complemented and added new knowledge to existing theory developed earlier on financial audits, and contributed new knowledge to performance audit theory. Originality/value – Public and private sector entity auditees need to understand the factors that impact performance audit results and effectiveness, so that they may appropriately define the performance audit scope, the solicitation for services, select the audit team, and provide support to the auditors during the engagement. This research is amongst the first to explicitly address and conceptualize the factors that affect capital program performance audit results and, thus, the potential for changes in procurement, resulting in program performance improvement.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 14, 2013
Keywords: Capital projects; Accountability; Audit; Construction works; Governance; Risk management; Assurance; United States of America