Interviewing, Virtual Agents, Embodied Conversational Agents, Self-Disclosure, Internal Audit


Recent technological advances have made it possible to create automated, virtual interviewers, called embodied conversational agents (ECAs). We study how an ECA compares to a human interviewer in three experiments. In experiment 1, we show that two theoretically motivated factors—making the ECA facially and vocally similar to the interviewee—result in the ECA performing similarly to or better than human interviewers for six antecedents of disclosure quality. In two additional experiments, we show that employees are on average between 21 and 32 percent more likely to disclose violating internal controls to an ECA than to a human interviewer, even if the human interviewer has significant interviewing experience. These findings contribute to the ECA design literature by showing that similarity-enhancing features of ECAs increase the antecedents of disclosure. The findings also contribute to the accounting literature by demonstrating that ECA technology can increase the scope of interviewing in accounting without reducing interview quality.

Original Publication Citation

Pickard, M. D., Schuetzler, R. M., Valacich, J. S., & Wood, D. (2018). Next-Generation Accounting Interviewing: A Comparison of Human and Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) as Interviewers. American Accounting Association Midyear Meeting, Newport Beach, CA, January 18–20.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Permanent URL


American Accounting Association Midyear Meeting




Marriott School of Business


Information Systems

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

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Business Commons