Auditor Skill Demands and Audit Quality: Evidence from Job Postings
58 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2021
Date Written: October 12, 2020
Using a novel dataset of online job postings by accounting firms, this study empirically examines audit offices’ skill preferences and whether they relate to audit quality. Consistent with prior work in labor economics, we find the demand for cognitive, social, and technology- related skills has increased over our sample period of 2007-2017. We also find substantial variation in the demand for these skills not only across audit firms, but also across offices within an audit firm, suggesting that audit offices are not homogeneous in their demand for auditor skills. Among the three skills, we find the demand for social skills has the strongest relation with audit quality. This association is stronger for large or industry specialist audit offices and for complex clients, suggesting the benefits of social skills are greater when effective coordination and knowledge transfer are crucial in achieving high-quality audits. Taken together, our findings suggest that an audit office’s skill preferences represent an important office attribute that can affect audit quality.
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