I used to think brainstorming consisted of people shouting out random thoughts as fast as they could in hopes of stumbling upon a good idea. That was before I learned that social scientists have conducted extensive research on how to conduct effective brainstorming sessions. As long as SAS No. 99 requires auditors to conduct brainstorming sessions, my students may as well learn to do it right. The Landis et al. Journal of Accountancy article gives good advice for generating ideas, evaluating ideas, and incorporating ideas in the audit plan.
“Problems to Avoid When Brainstorming Fraud Risks,” David Wood & Jeffrey Pickerd, CPA Journal (April 2011): 64-65. This article describes how to avoid seven common brainstorming problems including evaluation apprehension, group think, cognitive narrowing, social matching, social loafing, production blocking, and distraction conflict.
“Better Brainstorming,” Mark Landis, Scott Jerris & Mike Braswell, Journal of Accountancy (October 2008): 70-73. This article gives advice for generating ideas, evaluating ideas, and incorporating ideas in the audit plan.
“A Primer for Brainstorming Fraud Risks,” Mark Beasley & J.G. Jenkins, Journal of Accountancy (December 2003): 32-38. This article discusses SAS No. 99’s brainstorming requirements and gives advice for conducting effective brainstorming sessions.
“Think Like the Fraudster,” Antoinette Lynch, Internal Auditor, (February 2006): 66-70. This article discusses the relative advantages of face-to-face versus nominal brainstorming and describes electronic brainstorming.
“Audit Team Brainstorming, Fraud Risk Identification and Fraud Risk Assessment,” Tina Carpenter, Accounting Review (October 2007): 1119-1140. Auditors participating in an experiment generated new quality fraud ideas during a brainstorming session that were not previously identified by individual auditors. Brainstorming appears to help auditors recognize high fraud risk situations.
“Fraud Brainstorming Using Computer-Mediated Communication,” A.L. Lynch, U.S. Murthy & T.J. Engle, Accounting Review (July 2009): 1209-1232. Groups who conducted their brainstorming session electronically identified more relevant fraud risk factors than groups who brainstormed face-to-face. Face-to-face sessions can result in production blocking.