Do Audit Teams Affect Audit Production and Quality? Evidence from Audit Teams’ Industry Knowledge
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionContemporary Accounting Research. 2022, 39 (4), 2657-2695. 10.1111/1911-3846.12807
We examine how the extent and distribution of industry knowledge within an audit team affect audit outcomes. While prior research examining the role of auditors' industry knowledge focuses mainly on audit firms, audit offices, and audit partners, audits are conducted by audit teams. Using an audit framework and proprietary data from a Big 4 firm that includes audit hours for each team member, we find that Big 4 audit teams with higher average industry knowledge are associated with more audit effort. In contrast, we find mixed evidence on the relation between the average hourly internal cost rate and team knowledge. Furthermore, we find that balanced teams, which have at least one team member who qualifies as an industry specialist at both the senior rank and junior rank, produce higher-quality audits than teams that have no specialists. In contrast, the audit quality of unbalanced teams, which have a specialist at the senior rank but not the junior rank or vice versa, is not statistically different than teams with no specialists. Overall, our evidence suggests that both the extent and distribution of industry knowledge within a team matter for audit production and that industry knowledge is utilized more effectively when it is spread throughout the team. The findings have useful implications for audit firms and regulators regarding how team composition and industry knowledge affect audit outcomes.
JournalContemporary Accounting Research
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