Non-CPAs and Office Audit Quality
Accounting Horizons, Forthcoming
46 Pages Posted: 10 May 2017 Last revised: 24 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 12, 2020
During the time surrounding the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Big 4 firms either spun-off or downsized their consulting practices. However, in recent years, consulting service lines of the large accounting firms have seen a dramatic resurgence and growth. Regulators have taken notice and expressed concern over this renewed focus on consulting. The accounting firms claim that such services enhance audit quality, mainly due to the prominent role of non-accounting specialists in today’s external audit function. This study examines whether the availability of non-CPAs in U.S. Big 4 firm offices is associated with audit quality. We find that greater access to non-CPAs in the office is associated with higher audit quality and conclude that office audit quality is not just a function of audit-specific human resources but also the availability of non-CPAs to support audit engagement teams.
Keywords: audit quality, consulting focus, non-audit services, audit firm offices, use of specialists, audit pricing
JEL Classification: M42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation