Research suggests that staff auditors are more comfortable interacting with client personnel through email than face-to-face and that this choice of communication mode has the potential to impact audit outcomes. However, very little is known about how staff auditors choose a communication mode and its effects on their client interactions. Therefore, we present survey-based evidence that the majority of staff auditors prefer to interact with the client face-to-face but use face-to-face and email relatively equally. Auditors who primarily email the client place less value on client connection and those who prefer email report feeling more communication anxieties related to the client. Importantly, the use of face-to-face communication is associated with more positive and productive client interactions.  Firms can use the results of our study to understand the factors influencing staff auditors’ preference for and use of different communication modes and its effect on audit outcomes, particularly as remote work increases.

This content is only available as a PDF.