Purpose: Wisdom is considered as crucial in decision-making in both management and auditing practice. This research aims to investigate the concept of wisdom in auditing, thereby empirically exploring the determinants of wisdom in audit decision-making and explaining inter-relations among these determinants. Design/methodology/approach: This study employs grounded theory methodology that is based on in-depth interviews with twenty-seven practicing auditors who are audit partners, managers, seniors and assistants of auditing firms. Guided by the grounded theory, data collection and data analyses were conducted simultaneously to look into the new insights of the research phenomenon. The coding process was constantly compared until the research's theoretical saturation is reached after four rounds. At the end of the research process, the study conducted a survey to confirm the proposed framework as well as examine the inter-relationships between the defined determinants. Findings: Results suggest developing a conceptual framework to interpret wisdom-based decision-making process in auditing. A wise process of audit decision-making is defined as an integrated exercise of multiple determinants including knowledge assimilation, judgmental ability and ethical orientation. The research also explains and examines the potential interrelationships among these determinants in the audit decision-making process. Practical implications: Wisdom is a valuable tacit ability for all external auditors. The development of wise decision-making abilities of auditors should be considered an integral part of multiple virtues including knowledge and judgmental and ethical aspects. Originality/value: The contributions of this study are original and significant because it proposes a new approach to explain for the audit decision-making process and enhances better understandings of the concept of wisdom in auditing practices and its roles in audit decision-making.