The effect of audit engagement partner professional experience on audit quality and audit fees: early evidence from Form AP disclosure

Chenyong Liu (Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA)
Chunhao Xu (Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics, The University of Texas Permian Basin, Odessa, Texas, USA)

Asian Review of Accounting

ISSN: 1321-7348

Publication date: 8 February 2021

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of audit engagement partner's professional experience on audit quality. The authors also investigate the relationship between the audit partner's experience and audit fees in both Big 4 and non-Big 4 accounting firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Since the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) officially enacted Rule 3211 in 2017, US accounting firms are required to disclose detailed information of engagement partners in Form AP (PCAOB, 2015b). The authors obtained a sample of 2,283 audit partners from Form AP and hand collected their individual professional experience data through Certified Public Accountant (CPA) database, corporate disclosure and social media sites (e.g. Linkedin). Econometric models with fixed effects are used in this study to test our hypotheses. Two-stage least square (2SLS) model is used in the robustness test.

Findings

The authors find that the relationship between audit engagement partner's professional experience and audit quality is concave. It indicates that audit quality is increasing during the early stage of engagement partners' career and then decreases as the partners approaching the late-career phase. Further, the authors find that partner's professional experience is positively associated with audit fees in non-Big 4 accounting firms but not significantly associated with audit fees in Big 4 accounting firms.

Practical implications

The finding of how auditor experience impacts audit quality can be useful for accounting firms to better plan their staffing in auditing engagements. This study’s results are also helpful for small accounting firms to optimize their pricing strategy.

Originality/value

This study provides new empirical evidence about the relation between auditor professional experience and audit quality. Furthermore, the authors extend the literature of audit fee determinants by testing the joint effects of audit firm-level factors and auditor individual-level professional experience on audit fees.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank G. Ryan Huston and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. The authors are grateful to Udi Hoitash and Rani Hoitash for sharing their Accounting Reporting Complexity data. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from the School of Accounting of Texas Tech University.

Citation

Liu, C. and Xu, C. (2021), "The effect of audit engagement partner professional experience on audit quality and audit fees: early evidence from Form AP disclosure", Asian Review of Accounting, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARA-08-2020-0121

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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