This study investigates auditors' perceptions regarding audit evidence gathering techniques in the following areas: extent of use, reliability, average time spent and persuasiveness of the collected evidence. Additionally, the problems encountered by the auditors in using these techniques in the field are also catalogued. This study used a survey method and collected information from the Big 4 and non-Big 4 firms in Bahrain. The results indicate that the auditors primarily use documentation, analytical procedures and confirmations in collecting evidence. The auditors rank confirmation, physical and documentary evidence as the most reliable forms of evidence. The auditors also spend most of their time on these techniques. However, the sufficiency and competency of the audit evidence is rated as merely satisfactory. The Bahrain business environment is conservative and secretive, which affects the audit process and partly explains our results. The common problems faced by both the Big 4 and non-Big 4 firms are difficulties in collecting external evidence and uncooperative clients. The study also analyses the differences in the perceptions of the Big 4 and non-Big 4 auditors and experienced versus non-experienced auditors. The results of this study shed light on the problems and perception of the auditors in the non-Western countries in using standard evidence collection techniques.
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