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Have changes in audit standards altered client perceptions of auditors?

Marcus Doxey (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)
Robert Ewing (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Article publication date: 2 November 2020

Issue publication date: 4 June 2021




Changes in external auditing over four decades motivates a historical investigation of how client employees' perceptions of auditors have changed across this period.


This paper uses a longitudinal quasi-experiment to compare current client employees' perceptions of the auditor with results from 1972.


Changes in client employees' perceptions of the audit, its usefulness and of auditor-client conflict suggest increases in auditor independence. However, this paper also finds that despite decades of efforts to strengthen auditor independence and skepticism, the primary analogy client employees apply to the external auditor remains “consultant”.

Practical implications

The findings contribute to the discussion of whether regulatory and standard changes in the audit environment have changed aspects of client employees' perceptions of auditors.


The paper contributes by presenting a unique approach to partially replicating a historic study using a quasi-experimental research design.



The authors thank to the University of Kentucky’s Von Allmen School of Accountancy, and the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse School of Accountancy for financial support of this research.


Doxey, M. and Ewing, R. (2021), "Have changes in audit standards altered client perceptions of auditors?", American Journal of Business, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 109-127.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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