This research note investigates the relationship between the constructs of professional skepticism and client advocacy as they relate to accountants’ roles as auditors and tax professionals. Although Pinsker, Pennington, and Schafer (2009) implicitly treat advocacy and professional skepticism as opposing constructs, the purpose of this research note is to explicitly examine whether an accounting professional can be both a professional skeptic and a client advocate. Two hundred and six experienced accounting professionals with a mixture of accounting and tax backgrounds responded to a client advocacy scale (Pinsker et al., 2009) and a professional skepticism scale (Hurtt, 2010). Results indicate that while tax professionals have higher levels of client advocacy than auditors, both groups have similar levels of professional skepticism. Moreover, no correlation emerges between participants’ responses to the advocacy and the full professional skepticism scale or five of its six sub-scales. These results provide evidence that client advocacy is a separate and distinct construct from professional skepticism. These findings have implications for behavioral accounting researchers by demonstrating that these two constructs are not related; thus, it is important to separately measure client advocacy and professional skepticism when they are relevant to a research question.
We are grateful to Vicky Arnold for her helpful comments and her willingness to serve as guest editor for this chapter.
Schmitt, D., Hageman, A. and Radtke, R. (2014), "A Research Note on the Relationship Between Professional Skepticism and Client Advocacy Previously published under the name Donna Bobek.
Previously published under the name Donna Bobek.
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