Does auditor busyness influence audit outcome? Further evidence

  • Sze Man LAU

Student thesis: MPhil Thesis (Lingnan)


Previous studies examining whether and how auditor busyness influences audit outcome use auditors' clientele size as a proxy for auditor busyness. The result of these studies may be biased due to the endogeneity arising from the selection of clients by auditors as well as the selection of auditors by clients. By leveraging on the natural disasters as exogenous events to clients, I study whether the auditor busyness, induced by the additional assurance work performed for disaster-affected clients, influences the audit outcome of the non-disaster-affected clients (i.e.: the remaining clients). Consistent with the Limited Attention Theory (Cherry, 1953; Kahneman, 1973), I find auditor busyness is associated with a lower audit quality and a higher likelihood of non-timely filing of engagements with non-disaster-affected clients. I also find that auditors with a concentration of busyness, induced by the insufficient time on audit planning, the constraints in audit resources and the lack of industrial knowledge/prior audit experience´╝îare associated with an even lower audit quality of engagements with their non-disaster-affected clients. The results are robust to different audit quality proxies and the additional test which further control for the audit firm individual effect. This study, using a new identification strategy of busy auditor, adds to the debate on the consequence of auditor busyness.
Date of Award6 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorLixin Nancy SU (Supervisor) & Yue ZHANG (Co-supervisor)

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