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Audit Firm Culture: Recent Developments and Trends in the Literature

Audit Firm Culture: Recent Developments and Trends in the Literature This paper synthesizes research on audit firm culture (AFC) over the past decade, reviewing recent developments in research on factors instilling culture in audit firms, and how culture influences audit quality and auditors’ work attitudes. We develop and apply a three-phase model based on prior research and professional guidance (IAASB, 2014), which maps cultural embedding mechanisms (EMs, visible manifestations and organizational conditions to establish culture), perceptions of existing culture, and consequences of culture. Our synthesis shows that the culture of an audit firm is most oriented toward quality if leadership emphasizes professionalism over commercialism, promotes ethical judgments, and facilitates learning through systems, integration of specialists, and interpersonal interactions among auditors. The research cited shows strong influence on AFC of tone at the top set by leadership, as well as incentives in performance/reward systems. Studies we review generally imply continued concern for the influence of commercialism on AFC, but future research should investigate whether recent forces (i.e. pressure from regulators and efforts by the firms) have caused a cultural shift toward professionalism. We close by suggesting opportunities for future research that can strengthen understanding how AFC can be better managed by firms. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Accounting Review Taylor & Francis

Audit Firm Culture: Recent Developments and Trends in the Literature

Audit Firm Culture: Recent Developments and Trends in the Literature

European Accounting Review , Volume 31 (1): 51 – Jan 1, 2022

Abstract

This paper synthesizes research on audit firm culture (AFC) over the past decade, reviewing recent developments in research on factors instilling culture in audit firms, and how culture influences audit quality and auditors’ work attitudes. We develop and apply a three-phase model based on prior research and professional guidance (IAASB, 2014), which maps cultural embedding mechanisms (EMs, visible manifestations and organizational conditions to establish culture), perceptions of existing culture, and consequences of culture. Our synthesis shows that the culture of an audit firm is most oriented toward quality if leadership emphasizes professionalism over commercialism, promotes ethical judgments, and facilitates learning through systems, integration of specialists, and interpersonal interactions among auditors. The research cited shows strong influence on AFC of tone at the top set by leadership, as well as incentives in performance/reward systems. Studies we review generally imply continued concern for the influence of commercialism on AFC, but future research should investigate whether recent forces (i.e. pressure from regulators and efforts by the firms) have caused a cultural shift toward professionalism. We close by suggesting opportunities for future research that can strengthen understanding how AFC can be better managed by firms.

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References (176)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN
1468-4497
eISSN
0963-8180
DOI
10.1080/09638180.2020.1846574
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper synthesizes research on audit firm culture (AFC) over the past decade, reviewing recent developments in research on factors instilling culture in audit firms, and how culture influences audit quality and auditors’ work attitudes. We develop and apply a three-phase model based on prior research and professional guidance (IAASB, 2014), which maps cultural embedding mechanisms (EMs, visible manifestations and organizational conditions to establish culture), perceptions of existing culture, and consequences of culture. Our synthesis shows that the culture of an audit firm is most oriented toward quality if leadership emphasizes professionalism over commercialism, promotes ethical judgments, and facilitates learning through systems, integration of specialists, and interpersonal interactions among auditors. The research cited shows strong influence on AFC of tone at the top set by leadership, as well as incentives in performance/reward systems. Studies we review generally imply continued concern for the influence of commercialism on AFC, but future research should investigate whether recent forces (i.e. pressure from regulators and efforts by the firms) have caused a cultural shift toward professionalism. We close by suggesting opportunities for future research that can strengthen understanding how AFC can be better managed by firms.

Journal

European Accounting ReviewTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 1, 2022

Keywords: Audit firm culture; Audit quality; Ethical culture; Professionalism

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