Effects of Client Pressure and Audit Firm Management Control Systems on Auditor Judgments
61 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2015
Date Written: February 27, 2015
We examine the effects of pressures from client management and the audit firm’s own management control systems (MCS) on auditors’ willingness to accept an aggressive accounting that is preferred by client management. We find that auditors perceiving more pressure from client management to accept the client’s aggressive accounting react by increasing the size of the proposed adjustment needed to bring the client’s accounting into conformity with GAAP. However, we find that when client management promotes the jointness of interests they share with the auditor or the audit firm’s MCS focuses the auditor more on client service quality the auditor experiences increased affinity for the client and proposes lower adjustments in response to the same accounting facts. Furthermore, we find that the auditor’s proposed adjustment to client accounting leads to intended use of negotiation tactics that are consistent with the relative size of the proposed adjustment: larger proposed adjustments result in relatively greater auditor intentions to use contending tactics whereas smaller adjustments lead to increased intentions to use compromising tactics. Two implications emerge from our research. First, that client management, if subtle with its use of pressure, can nudge auditors towards accepting the aggressive accounting management wants. Second, the audit firm’s own MCS can facilitate auditor identification with client needs leading to a lesser willingness by auditors to challenge aggressive client management accounting.
Keywords: Client pressure, customer relationship management, client service quality, management control systems, motivated reasoning, negotiation, accounting policy acceptance
JEL Classification: M4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation