IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Auditor-client management relationships and roles in negotiating financial reporting

Listed author(s):
  • McCracken, Susan
  • Salterio, Steven E.
  • Gibbins, Michael
Registered author(s):

    We carry out an interview based field study of chief financial officer (CFO)-audit partner dyads to examine the assumption that the roles played by each side and the nature of the relationships are similar across negotiations. These dyads freely discussed with us their relationship, a specific issue negotiated and it's resolution process. Employing the lens of social positioning negotiation research, we find these negotiations are 'fluid', with continual redefinition not only of the substantive issues under negotiation, but also of the negotiation roles and relationships (i.e. 'shadow' negotiations). The CFO's actions and expectations in these 'shadow' negotiations appear to define the auditor's role and the relationship's parameters, but both can evolve over time. The audit partners express a desire to be in the "ideal" relationship where they assume the role of the 'expert advisor' (as opposed to a 'police officer') but they seemingly have no explicit strategy to move the relationship toward a 'proactive' (rather than 'reactive') state. Furthermore, the audit partner is always the 'relationship manager' whose job it is to see that client management remains "happy". These roles and relationships negotiated in the 'shadows' also affect how the negotiation process unfolds, including the set of alternative accounting treatments considered during negotiations. Finally, audit firms appear to manage the assignment of partners to engagements based on CFO preferences and remove those partners who are in "poor" relationships, irrespective of why the relationship is considered by the CFO to be "poor". Implications for the broader research program on auditor-client management negotiations are discussed.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Accounting, Organizations and Society.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4-5 ()
    Pages: 362-383

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:33:y:2008:i:4-5:p:362-383
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Dirsmith, Mark W. & Heian, James B. & Covaleski, Mark A., 1997. "Structure and agency in an institutionalized setting: The application and social transformation of control in the Big Six," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-27, January.
    2. Power, Michael, 1997. "Expertise and the construction of relevance: Accountants and environmental audit," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 123-146, February.
    3. Cooper, David J. & Robson, Keith, 2006. "Accounting, professions and regulation: Locating the sites of professionalization," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(4-5), pages 415-444.
    4. Gendron, Yves & Bedard, Jean, 2006. "On the constitution of audit committee effectiveness," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 211-239, April.
    5. Radcliffe, Vaughan S., 1999. "Knowing efficiency: the enactment of efficiency in efficiency auditing," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 333-362, May.
    6. Power, Michael K., 2003. "Auditing and the production of legitimacy," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 379-394, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:33:y:2008:i:4-5:p:362-383. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.