International Rotations in Globally Networked Public Accounting Firms: Implications for Audit Quality

52 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2022

See all articles by Kim Westermann

Kim Westermann

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Denise Downey

Villanova University

Date Written: July 1, 2022

Abstract

We interview thirty-one experienced secondees (i.e., auditors on an international rotation from one member firm to another member firm in a specified role for a fixed period of time), and three practice leaders with the objective of understanding public accounting secondments and how secondments are perceived to affect audit quality. Respondents perceive secondments are an important and effective, albeit costly, mechanism to improve audit quality at the engagement team, office, and firm level. Specifically, sending personnel abroad is a mechanism to: (1) improve supervision and review; (2) transfer knowledge across jurisdictions; (3) develop a “global mindset”; and (4) foster social capital across member firms. While theoretically secondments could drive consistency in quality and control at the global entity level, strikingly, both U.S. and non-U.S. secondees describe their roles in a manner consistent with secondments functioning as a mechanism of quality control for an individual member firm(s).

Keywords: audit quality, expatriate, international rotation, quality control, secondment

Suggested Citation

Westermann, Kimberly and Downey, Denise, International Rotations in Globally Networked Public Accounting Firms: Implications for Audit Quality (July 1, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4291122 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4291122

Kimberly Westermann (Contact Author)

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

Denise Downey

Villanova University ( email )

Villanova, PA 19085
United States

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