ABSTRACT

This paper reports on the first experimental study to examine how materiality and client pressure affect auditors' judgments of two detected misstatements that have offsetting effects on the client's income. One hundred forty-three experienced German auditors completed a case that varied the misstatement distribution (same or different accounts), the presence or absence of client pressure, and quantitative materiality of the misstatements nested in the client pressure condition (net amount less than or greater than performance materiality). The results show: First, the distribution of the misstatements and client pressure interact. The proportion of auditors who require the client to fully adjust both misstatements is highest when the offsetting misstatements are in two different accounts and there is no client pressure. Second, misstatement distribution interacts with quantitative materiality. The proportion of auditors who deny the bonus when facing client pressure is highest when the level of materiality is greater than performance materiality and the misstatement distribution is in different accounts. Third, audit experience appears to play a role in the auditors' judgments. While more experienced auditors are more likely to fully correct the misstatements when there is no client pressure, they are also more likely to waive the misstatements when faced with client pressure. Additional experimentation confirms these findings. These results have important implications for researchers, practitioners, regulators, and standard setters.

Data Availability: The data are available from the authors upon request.

You do not currently have access to this content.