The Effect of Auditor Style on Reporting Quality: Evidence from Germany
Accepted in Abacus
42 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017 Last revised: 3 Dec 2020
Date Written: September 27, 2017
This paper examines whether the ‘style’ of individual auditors influences financial reporting quality in Germany. Audit quality in Germany should be uniformly high, because of strong reputational needs, strict controls on operating procedures, and quality enforcement mechanisms. An audit partner’s style should not affect this quality level. However, our results do not support this expectation. Exploiting a unique dataset comprising the names of the audit engagement and review partners of listed German companies, we find that audit engagement partners in Germany have a significant influence on audit quality, beyond firm- and office-level factors. In contrast, audit review partners do not have a consistent significant influence on audit quality. We measure audit quality by the level of a firm’s abnormal accruals and its propensity to meet or beat an earnings target. We also find that the 2005 adoption of a new audit quality enforcement system that includes ‘naming and shaming’ does not reduce the influence of audit partner style on financial reporting quality.
Keywords: audit quality, auditor style, engagement partner, Germany, reputation, review partner
JEL Classification: C33, K20, M42, M48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation