Title

Email versus In-Person Audit Inquiry: Recent Research and Additional Survey Data

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2018

Publication Title

American Accounting Association

Volume

12

Issue

2

First page number:

A36

Last page number:

A44

Abstract

Recent research suggests that an auditor's choice to conduct audit inquiry via email versus in person can adversely impact both auditor and client behavior. In this study, I review recent research on this important topic, and I present additional survey-based evidence that describes how clients perceive auditor email versus in-person inquiries. I find that clients generally view auditors' in-person requests as more important and urgent than email requests, and clients feel they can more carefully craft their responses to support their company's preferred reporting position via email compared to in person. Further, clients expect that auditors will question an aggressive response more quickly in person than over email. Although audit partners have expressed concerns that email communication could impede auditor-client relationship building, I find no differences in how much clients like the auditor or in clients' willingness to work again with the auditor after receiving an email or in-person request. However, recent research suggests that email requests can lead to more negative feelings toward the auditor, which could affect the auditor-client relationship over time. I discuss implications for audit firms and provide suggestions for future research.

Keywords

Communication mode; Auditor-client interactions; Audit inquiry

Disciplines

Accounting

Language

English

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