SUMMARY

Prior literature finds that audit firm style shapes client financial statement comparability (Francis, Pinnuck, and Watanabe 2014). We expect that engagement partners also shape financial statement comparability, and find that two clients audited by the same engagement auditor have more comparable accruals than two clients audited by different auditors. We also find that engagement auditor past comparability style explains new client comparability with industry peers, suggesting that auditor style persists over time. We uncover that auditor personal traits including gender, experience, qualification, and specialization are associated with higher comparability. Finally, we find that adding the audit-firm, audit-office, and engagement-auditor fixed effects increases the adjusted R2 of our accrual comparability model by 0.6 percent, 1.9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. Taken together, our findings suggest that the engagement auditors have a distinguishable effect on financial statement comparability that is incremental to the effect of audit firms and offices.

Data Availability: All data are publicly available from the sources identified in the text.

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