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Audit partner characteristics, career advancement and audit quality in the USA

Chen Cai (Perella Department of Finance, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA)
Stephen Ciccone (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA)
Huimin Li (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA)
Le Emily Xu (Department of Accounting and Finance, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 21 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the relation among US audit partners’ characteristics, their career advancement and audit quality.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses data from Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Form AP, Auditor Reporting of Certain Audit Participants, and publicly available online data sources. The hand-collected data on audit partners’ personal characteristics include gender, work experience and educational background. The measures for audit quality include restatements and audit fees.

Findings

The authors find that audit partner characteristics matter for the time it takes an individual to reach partnership after completing a bachelor’s degree. There are significant differences in work experience and educational background between partners in the largest (Big N) audit firms and smaller (non-Big N) audit firms. Audit partner traits are related to audit quality, and the effects differ between Big N and non-Big N partners.

Originality/value

The literature has examined audit partners’ career paths using international data. However, little empirical academic research has examined the career advancement of US audit partners. This study provides initial insights on the career advancement of US partners on a large scale and complements the recent research that examines audit partner characteristics and audit quality in the US market.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the helpful comments of Leah Muriel and the other conference participants at the 2020 AAA Annual Meeting.

Data availability: Data are publicly available from sources identified in the article.

Citation

Cai, C., Ciccone, S., Li, H. and Xu, L.E. (2022), "Audit partner characteristics, career advancement and audit quality in the USA", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-09-2021-3325

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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