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Events of Department of Accounting

September 18, 2019 at 12:15 - 13:45
Accounting Department, Room 5-b3-sr01, 5th floor, Roentgen building


Auditors are Known by the Companies They Keep


Michael Minnis, Professor of Accounting, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

We study the role of reputation in auditor-client matching. Using 1.2 million employment records from US broker-dealers, we find that broker-dealer clients of the same auditor have similar finan-cial adviser misconduct profiles. Our estimates indicate that variation in client misconduct behav-ior is nearly half as important as variation in client size in explaining matches. Auditors adjust their portfolios when presented with new information about client behavior, and those with the most significant reputation concerns are least likely to deal with high misconduct clients. Finally, we find that an auditor’s reputation for accepting high misconduct clients predicts their new cli-ents’ future misconduct. Together, our results present new evidence on how reputation affects audit relationships, and the consequences of auditors’ reputation concerns for client behavior. Our results also indicate an unintended consequence of audit mandates: non-discerning auditors emerge to serve clients with low endogenous demand for auditing.
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