Negotiations over Accounting Issues: The Congruency of Audit Partner and Chief Financial Officer Recalls Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Much of what takes place in auditor-client management negotiations occurs in unobservable settings and normally does not result in publicly available archival records. Recent research has increasingly attempted to probe issues relating to accounting negotiations in part due to recent events in the financial world. In this paper, we compare recalls from the two sides of such negotiations, audit partners, and chief financial officers (CFOs), collected in two field questionnaires. We examine the congruency of the auditors' and the CFOs' negotiation recalls for all negotiation elements and features that were common across the two questionnaires (detailed analyses of the questionnaires are reported elsewhere). The results show largely congruent recall: only limited divergences in recall of common elements and features. Specifically, we show a high level of congruency across CFOs and audit partners in the type of issues negotiated, parties involved in resolving the issue, and the elements making up the negotiation process, including agreement on the relative importance of various common accounting contextual features. The analysis of the common accounting contextual features suggests that certain contextual features are consistently important across large numbers of negotiations, whether viewed from the audit partner's or the CFO's perspective, and hence may warrant future study. Finally, the comparative analysis allows us to identify certain common elements and contextual features that may influence both audit partners and CFOs to consider the accounting negotiation setting as mainly distributive (win-lose).

publication date

  • December 1, 2005