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The determinants of audit clients’ willingness to cooperate


  • Richard FONTAINE
  • Luciano PILOTTI


The objective of this research is to determine what motivates clients to cooperate and to remain at arm’s length (independent) with their financial auditors. It was found that clients prefer a more relational approach (RA) than a transactional approach (TA) with their financial auditors (Fontaine and Pilote, 2011). More precisely, the audit client wants to cooperate with the auditor yet also wants to remain distant (at arms’ length). What is not known is what determines (causes) the client’s preference to cooperate and to remain at arm’s length. Investigating the determinants of the audit client’s willingness to cooperate is the center of on-going debates by audit academics and professionals. The problem is that an overly cooperative relationship has been considered a threat to auditor independence. We seek to determine what influenced the clients’ preference to be both cooperative and at arm’s length with their auditor. To achieve the objective of this research, we will rely on a new theoretical framework that is a modified version of a Relationship Marketing model, known as the Commitment-Trust model (Morgan and Hunt, 1994). The contribution of this study should extend beyond the accounting domain since the financial statement audit has important value to society. The financial audit has been referred to as a social phenomenon that exists because certain groups cannot obtain information or reassurance for themselves (Flint, 1988).

Suggested Citation

  • Richard FONTAINE & Luciano PILOTTI, 2012. "The determinants of audit clients’ willingness to cooperate," Departmental Working Papers 2012-02, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2012-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. Paulin & R.J. Ferguson & Marielle Audrey Payaud, 2000. "Effectiveness of relational and transactional cultures in commercial banking : putting client-value into the competing values model," Post-Print halshs-00650008, HAL.
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