The Effect of Audit Partners’ Workload Compression on Audit Quality Across Europe

30 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2022

Date Written: March 28, 2022


The effect of audit partners’ workload compression on audit quality has received extensive attention. Prior literature presents mixed results in different audit market settings such as the US, China, and Australia. But little is known in the European audit market. Under the same audit market setting, using different methodologies also leads to inconsistent results. For example, studies using the OLS regression might show contradictory findings with that using the partner fixed-effect model. To fill the evidence gap in the EU, we study the data from 16 European countries spanning the years 2010 through 2019. We first apply the OLS regression and partner fixed-effect model, and then we use the multilevel model to reconcile the inconsistent results due to different methodologies. We highlight the use of the multilevel model to address data dependence issues and contextualize the results from client level to partner level. Our aim is to test the association between EU audit partners’ workload compression and audit quality. Our findings suggest that higher workload compression is associated with longer audit report lag, more earnings manipulation, and a higher cost of capital. We hope to raise regulators’ awareness of the consequences of audit partners’ workload compression.

Keywords: Audit quality, Audit partners, multilevel model

Suggested Citation

Kovarik, Qing, The Effect of Audit Partners’ Workload Compression on Audit Quality Across Europe (March 28, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Qing Kovarik (Contact Author)

Aarhus University ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
DK-8000 Aarhus C, 8000

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