SYNOPSIS

This paper investigates whether client engagement risks lengthen the client acceptance phase for audit firms and result in a longer auditor search period for their clients. Using a sample of auditor resignations over the period 2003–2008, we document that the auditor search period is longer for firms associated with client business risk (financial distress) and audit risk (internal control weaknesses or management integrity issues), while it is shorter for firms representing reduced auditor business risk (auditor industry specialization). These findings highlight the importance of client risk assessment and explain audit firms' response to perceived client risks.

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