Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 156, Issue 2, pp 563–575 | Cite as

Who’s Watching? Accountability in Different Audit Regimes and the Effects on Auditors’ Professional Skepticism

  • Florian HoosEmail author
  • Jorien Louise Pruijssers
  • Michel W. Lander
Original Paper


The European Commission has suggested that the use of joint audits should lead to improved auditor skepticism and—by extension—audit quality, through increased accountability. However, archival research does not find support for improved audit quality in a joint audit setting. To better understand the relationship between accountability in different review regimes and auditors’ judgments, we examine the behavioral effect of implementing a joint audit relative to other review regimes based on a 1 × 3 experimental design. Forty-seven senior auditors and partners from a Big Four firm performed a going concern evaluation task under one of three review regimes: the joint audit, the internal review, and the no review regime. Notwithstanding the difference in the audiences to which auditors are accountable, there is no difference in the judgment process. In terms of their judgment outcome, however, auditors in the joint audit setting were the least skeptical in their judgment of the going concern assumption. Overall, we suggest that the joint audit may lead to unintended behavioral consequences.


Accountability Auditors Professional skepticism Joint audit Judgment Experiment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors received research grants for conducting this study. All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in our study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of our respective institutions.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10551_2017_3603_MOESM1_ESM.docx (53 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 53 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Hoos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jorien Louise Pruijssers
    • 2
  • Michel W. Lander
    • 1
  1. 1.HEC ParisJouy-en-JosasFrance
  2. 2.Desautels Faculty of ManagementMcGillMontrealCanada

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