Male and Female Auditors: Who in this Land is the Fairest of All?

Accountancy & Bedrijfskunde, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 22–30

Posted: 10 Jun 2009 Last revised: 21 Apr 2013

See all articles by Kris Hardies

Kris Hardies

University of Antwerp

Diane Breesch

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Joël Branson

Vrije Universiteit Brussel VUB

Date Written: November 1, 2009

Abstract

Auditors add credibility to the financial statements of their clients, but only insofar as the users of those financial statements perceive the audit as valuable. Audit quality should therefore not only be looked at from the perspective of ‘actual audit quality’ (the reduction of audit risk to an acceptable low level) but also from the perspective of ‘perceived audit quality’ (auditor reputation). Perceived audit quality is a ‘market based evaluation’ of the auditor’s competence and independence. In auditing literature firm size is traditionally used as proxy for audit quality. A basic assumption of his literature is that audit firms supply a single level of audit quality at a moment in time. Recently however, audit quality researchers advocate a shift of analysis from a macro-level (i.e. the audit firm) to a more micro-perspective (i.e. the audit team and individual auditor). In this paper we endorse this viewpoint and point out the importance of audit team and audit partner characteristics for audit quality as perceived by clients. We specifically address the impact of gender on auditor reputation. Information provided by female and male auditors may not be viewed upon as being equally credible. We hypothesize that female auditors are perceived as less competent but more independent than male auditors.

Keywords: audit quality, gender, perception, auditor competence, auditor independence

JEL Classification: M42, J16, M49

Suggested Citation

Hardies, Kris and Breesch, Diane and Branson, Joël, Male and Female Auditors: Who in this Land is the Fairest of All? (November 1, 2009). Accountancy & Bedrijfskunde, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 22–30, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1330465

Kris Hardies (Contact Author)

University of Antwerp ( email )

Department of Accounting and Finance
Pleinlaan 13
Antwerp, 2000
Belgium

Diane Breesch

Vrije Universiteit Brussel ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
Brussels, Brussels 1050
Belgium

Joël Branson

Vrije Universiteit Brussel VUB ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.vub.ac.be/es

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