This research examines the effect of auditors’ personal debt on their audit decision making. We developed two different background scenarios that vary the level of the auditor’s personal debt. While one scenario indicated that the partner lived a modest lifestyle and was relatively free of debt, the other indicated that the partner lived an expensive lifestyle and had considerable personal debt. Our data indicate that auditors receiving the higher personal indebtedness scenario were more likely to believe that the auditor in the case study would sign-off on the audit without doing any additional work. We also found that the propensity to believe that the auditor in the case study would sign-off on the audit without doing any additional work decreased as the participants’ rank within the firm increased. Our research documents that a partner’s level of indebtedness could influence the participant’s audit decisions.
Sweeney, C., Bernardi, R. and Arnold, D. (2014), "Could the Level of Personal Indebtedness Influence an Auditor’s Professional Decision-Making Process?", Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting (Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 89-108. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1574-076520140000018003Download as .RIS
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