Policymakers have identified effective communications between the auditor and the audit committee (AC) as an indicator of a quality audit, but little is known about the factors auditors consider when deciding what to communicate about significant accounting issues. We propose auditors use the AC's oversight approach as a cue for the level of detail in their communications that is necessary to satisfy the AC's preferences for auditors' insights on issues that were resolved with management. In our experiment, auditors resolved an inventory obsolescence issue with a hypothetical CFO, and then wrote a communication about it for the AC. We manipulate the AC's preference for getting involved in the issue resolution process and its reputation for asking questions. Our results, supplemented by findings from audit partner interviews, suggest auditors tailor their communications to the AC's oversight approach, the AC's industry and accounting knowledge, and the AC chair's preferred communication style.
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