Assurance Services

What is Assurance Services?

Assurance services emphasizes research, education and knowledge transfer, and interaction initiatives at UWCISA, particularly attuned to topics such as:

  • external FS audits,
  • IT controls and assurance,
  • use of specialists in FS audit and other assurance engagements,
  • emerging assurance service areas and related technologies & tools, and
  • professional responsibilities of assurance providers.

Led by

Tim Bauer

Tim Bauer, PhD, CPA, CA

Associate Director, UWCISA.


Thought Leadership, Funding Specific Research Projects 

Current Assurance Services Research

Paper Details
Assurance Solutions and Services: Current and Future Opportunities  
  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis, Pei Wang.  

  • Objectives: The evolving expectations of stakeholders in a data- and technology-driven economy will dramatically reshape the services CPA auditors are expected to provide. In order to ensure that the CPA profession is viewed and well equipped to be a leading provider of trust in the digital world, we must consider future forms and uses of information and explore new ideas for assurance services and how those services are being delivered. 

  • Primary purpose: to research the marketplace of assurance services and solutions currently being offered by CPA firms and non-CPAs.

  • Status: In process
    • In Phase 1 the research team completed an initial review of practitioner-oriented sources and academic literature to compile a database of the evolution of assurance-related services, and tools and technologies used in such services, to date. The research team also conducted 20 interviews with practitioners addressing issues related to the development of new assurance services. Two papers and one preliminary summary of findings document this phase of the project. Each separate report is discussed in the three rows below. The research team presented a summary of their findings to the AICPA's Assurance Services Executive Committee on October 18, 2022.
    • Phase 2 is underway. Data collection involved conducting 1) a survey with mainly CPA firm representatives about technologies and tools used in assurance services (emailed to CPA Canada membership; accessible January 24, 2023 until the end of February 2023 with assistance from CPA Canada), 2) roundtable discussions with assurance leadership in Canada (January 27, 2023 with assistance from CPA Canada) and the US (February 1, 2023 with assistance from the AICPA) about priorities and competition for emerging assurance service areas, and 3) eight interviews with CPA and other professionals about the development of emergent assurance services (conducted throughout December 2023). This data is being added to the various reports started in Phase 1.
 Cataloguing the Marketplace of Assurance Services
  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis, Pei Wang. 

  • Objectives: Identify emerging assurance service areas and report on CPA firm market presence (or not) in these areas. 

  • Status: In process

    • An initial version of the report was submitted to Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory (AJPT), the top audit and assurance journal in accounting, in December 2023. Results of the roundtable discussions in January 2023 have been included in a revised version of the paper in an effort to validate findings and conclusions made in the report. The revised version is now available and was conditionally accepted by AJPT in September 2023: 

    • Report: Cataloguing the Marketplace of Assurance Service Areas 

Cataloguing Emerging Technologies and Tools for Assurance Services  
  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis. 

  • Objectives: Identify emerging technologies and tools related to assurance services. 

  • Status: In process

    • This paper was presented at the 2023 Joint Midyear Meeting of the AIS, SET and International Sections of the AAA  held in Las Vegas, NV in January 26-28, 2023. Results from the survey are included in the most recent version of the report in an effort to provide additional insight from practitioners and CPAs into the use of emerging technologies and tools used in assurance services. The paper is scheduled to be presented at the AAA Audit and AIS/SET Midyear Meetings in January 2024.

    • Report: Cataloguing Assurance Related Technologies and Tools

Developing New Assurance Services 
  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Efrim Boritz, Krista Fiolleau, Brad Pomeroy, Adam Vitalis. 

  • Objectives: Investigate how new assurance services are developed via interviews with CPA and other professionals. 

  • Status: In process

    • A preliminary report is available at the link below. Additional interviews were conducted in December 2022 and will be combined with the initial interview data in a full report that will describe the development of new assurance services as reflected in interview participant responses. This report is being drafted in Summer/Fall 2023.

    • Report: Research on Emerging Assurance Service Areas 

Business Models and Business Model Descriptions: A Research Synthesis. 
  • Research team: Efrim Boritz and Louise Hayes, University of Guelph.  

  • Objectives: This paper addresses a series of research questions aimed at exploring the nature of business models and business model descriptions to better understand how they are and can be used in accounting and auditing.  

  • Status: In process

    • This paper was presented at the AAA Annual Meeting in New York, NY, August 2016; the International Symposium on Accounting Information Systems (ISAIS) in Valencia, Spain, May 2017;  the AAA SET Midyear Meeting in Orlando, FL, January 23-25, 2020. 

    • The paper was submitted to IJAIS but reviewers requested changes that were not acceptable to the authors. It is being revised for submission to a different journal.

Neuro-Cognitive Measures of Professional Skepticism. 
  • Research team: Efrim Boritz, Katharine Elizabeth Patterson, Kristian Rotaru, Monash University, and Carla Wilkin, Monash University. 

  • Objectives: Examine the moderating role of neurocognitive measures such as risk taking propensity, cognitive (inhibitory) control and social cognition during the decision-making process to reveal the impact of these neurocognitive traits on professional skepticism during individual decision-making processes associated with audit risk judgments.  

  • Status: In process

    • This paper was presented at the Annual Congress of the EAA in Paphos, CY, May 2019.

    • Rejected by Behavioral Research in Accounting (BRIA) mainly due to use of student subjects. Revised to use MTurk subjects and rerun in Q3 of 2020. Pilot tests of 70 participants were conducted. Some issues were identified with Qualtrics that were resolved and new data was gathered. MTurk data proved unreliable and additional data was gathered in Winter 2022.

Neuro-Physiological Measures of Professional Skepticism. 
  • Research team: Efrim Boritz, Katharine Elizabeth Patterson, Kristian Rotaru, Monash University, and Carla Wilkin, Monash University.  

  • Objectives: examine the mediating role of neurophysiological measures commonly associated with the degree of cognitive and/or emotional arousal experienced during the decision-making process to reveal the mechanism through which professional skepticism affects individual decision-making processes associated with audit risk judgments.  

  • Status: In process

    • This paper was presented at the AAA Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, 2019.

    • Data was collected from practitioners at Big 4 firms during 2019. Paper was rejected by TAR and CAR. Additional analyses will be conducted based on the review comments received.

How Does Depletion Interact with Auditors’ Skeptical Dispositions to Affect Auditors’ Challenging of Managers in Negotiations?
  • Research team: Lori Bhaskar, Indiana University, Tracie Majors, University of Southern California, and Adam Vitalis.
  • Objectives: explore the interaction of depletion and auditor skepticism on auditors’ challenging of managers during negotiations, and to develop a new, more nuanced measure of auditors’ client service-skeptic disposition for professionals and academics to leverage.
  • Status: In process
    • This paper has been accepted for publication and will appear in print in 2024 at Contemporary Accounting Research, the premier Canadian (and internationally recognized) journal for the Canadian Academic Accounting Association.
Improving Specialists’ Contributions to Audits of Fair Values. 
  • Research team: Tim Bauer, Cassandra Estep, Emory University, and Emily Griffith, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

  • Objectives: examine how to motivate specialists to deliver high quality work and communication to auditors even in situations where specialists may otherwise feel coerced or compelled to contribute in a limited fashion.  

  • Status: In process

    • Invited in September 2022 to revise and resubmit manuscript for review at Contemporary Accounting, Research. As part of this revision, survey data was collected from approximately 30 valuation specialists in November & December 2022. A revised manuscript should be completed in April 2023.

    • The paper is under second round review at Contemporary Accounting Research. The revised manuscript is available at the link below.

    • Report: Improving Specialists' Contributions to Audits

How Are Goodwill Impairments Audited? A Study of Auditors and Valuation Specialists. 
  • Research team: Efrim Boritz and Lev Timoshenko, University of Calgary.  

  • Objectives: examine how auditors and valuation specialists perform the audit of goodwill/cash generating unit (CGU) impairment under IFRS, focusing on both interpretation and application of fair value (FV) accounting and auditing standards by the two groups.  

  • Status: In process

    • The paper is being revised for resubmission.

Education and Knowledge Transfer 

Disseminating Best Practices, Sharing Material (Workshops / Conferences) 

Developing Courses, Workshops, Cases and Other Teaching Material 


IT Controls and Assurance Innovation 

  • Under the leadership of Malik Datardina of Auvenir, UWCISA sponsored the development and implementation of a course on technology, assurance and innovation.

  • The course covers innovation, assurance and value creation. The course explores exponential technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and AI. 

  • Status: In process 

ISACA Toronto Chapter Mentorship Program 

CPA Canada

  • Under the guidance of Kaylynn Pippo and Grace Gilewiecz at CPA Canada, Tim Bauer and Brad Pomeroy will create a practitioner-oriented summary of the Phase 1 and 2 research on new assurance service areas (e.g., catalogue, interviews, roundtables).
  • This summary is currently being drafted with the intention of being released as a white paper in Fall 2023.
  • CPA Canada Audit Quality Blog - Research on the future of assurance services
  • Status: Completed 


Engaging with Profession, Students, Public


Assurance in Practice 

  • Auditors and accountants who experience client aggression and incivility
  • Tim Bauer has been invited to speak to members of the Halton-Peel CPA Ontario Association in November 2023. He will discuss the topics of client aggression and incivility faced by auditors and professional accountants, how they cope with it and how it impacts their work.
  • Status: Early development stage