Meyers, N.M., Smith, B.N., Bingham, S.A. and Shimeld, S.F.
Proceedings of the
Second Innovation in Accounting and Corporate Governance Education Conference.
31 January – 2
AN INTEGRATED CASE STUDY IN AUDITING: AN EXERCISE IN
Nick McGuigan and Sidney Weil
* corresponding author: Centre of Accounting, Education and Research - Lincoln University, PO Box
84, Canterbury 7647, New Zealand. email@example.com
This paper describes the introduction of an integrated case study into an auditing course taught
at a small New Zealand University. The case study facilitated the redesign of the course to incorporate
the principles of experiential learning, whereby learners actively participate in a financial audit within
an environment comparative to current industry practice. Using a participant observer approach, the
paper documents the introduction of the integrated case, whilst referring to the relevant educational
theory. A student’s progress is clearly mapped through an experiential learning spiral in which learners
continually build upon previously acquired skills. The paper articulates effective aspects of the
teaching innovation and highlights areas which may need further development and support. Informal
feedback from students suggests that the redesign has increased their interest in and motivation for
the auditing course. This course development has created a cohesive auditing course with a clearly
demonstrated practical aspect, which allows students to link theory to real-world experience.
Auditing is a core component of the Commerce degree for students majoring in Accounting at
Lincoln University, New Zealand. The study of auditing draws on knowledge and skills from a variety
of areas, including accounting, information management systems, management and ethical
considerations (Leung, Coram, Cooper and Cosserat, 2005). A major challenge in delivering the
course is the integration of its diverse parts into a single body of knowledge, providing students with a
holistic view of the auditing environment and process, enabling them to relate auditing theory to
In 2005, this challenge was addressed by introducing an integrated audit case study into the
course. A case study was used, as it is a proven pedagogical technique for exposing students to real-
world complexity, especially with respect to decision-making (Weil, Oyelere, Yeoh and Firer, 2001).
The case study was comprehensive in nature, comprising an entire audit. The audit is fully integrated,
enabling students to understand the interrelationships among decisions involved in audit planning,
audit testing and the formation of the auditor’s opinion. This pedagogical approach is best described
as experiential learning, as the learners actively participate in a financial audit within an environment
comparative to current industry practice.
This paper describes the case study used and its implementation in the auditing course. Initially,