The impact of regulatory scrutiny on the resolution of material accounting issues

  • Author / Creator
    Pomeroy, Bradley
  • Although auditor-client interaction is considered an important determinant of financial reporting outcomes, concerns often arise that close working relationships between auditors and client managers can impair auditor independence. Several high-profile accounting scandals have intensified these concerns, impaired investors’ confidence in the financial reporting process and motivated regulators to respond with reforms to enhance auditors’ responsibility for maintaining financial reporting quality. Subsequent reports from the financial press indicate that these reforms had a chilling effect on the auditor-client relationship, but academic research has not examined the influence of regulatory scrutiny on the resolution of material accounting issues between auditors and managers. This study contributes to the literature by investigating the impact of regulatory scrutiny on auditors’ approach to resolving material accounting issues with managers and examining whether this impact is moderated by managers’ commitment to their preferred accounting. Auditors’ interaction approach involves developing arguments and recommendations in response to managers’ accounting preferences in an attempt to persuade managers to adopt more appropriate accounting. The results of an experiment with experienced auditors indicate that regulatory scrutiny and managers’ commitment to their preferred accounting interact to influence auditors’ interaction approach. Specifically, when regulatory scrutiny is low, reciprocity norms determine auditors’ interaction approach but, as regulatory scrutiny increases, accountability demands dominate auditors’ reciprocity motivations and modify auditors’ responses to managers’ accounting preferences. These results provide evidence that regulatory scrutiny introduces tension into the auditor-client relationship, but the effects of this tension on the resolution of material accounting issues is contingent on the interpersonal context.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kennedy, Jane (Accounting, University of Washington)
    • Schimel, Jeff (Psychology)
    • Jamal, Karim (Accounting)
    • Tiessen, Peter (Accounting)
    • Suddaby, Roy (Strategic Management and Organization)