We propose a new audit supplier competition construct, the Office-Client Balance (OCB), which consists of the relative abundance of competing audit offices and audit clients in a metropolitan (metro) area. From this construct, we derive a metro-level audit competition proxy reflecting surpluses or shortfalls of total metro audit office numbers relative to the national metro OCB norm: the OCB_TOT. Consistent with the predictions of Porter's Five Forces theory, we find that OCB_TOT is associated with lower fees, more auditor turnover, and more (less) office exits (entrances) in metro audit markets. These findings validate OCB_TOT as a proxy for audit market competition. Our results indicate that greater metro-level competition among auditors (more positive OCB_TOT) is associated with higher audit quality, proxied by fewer financial statement misstatements. Several additional analyses suggest that OCB_TOT is useful in explaining clients' choices of local (versus remote) audit offices and Big 4 (versus non-Big4) offices.

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