Client status and cooperation with audit requests
Client cooperation is critical to successful audit evidence collection, but little is known about how client-specific qualities influence clients’ cooperation with audit requests. I investigate (1) whether high-status clients are more cooperative towards auditors, and (2) whether this effect dissipates when auditors make more costly requests. I conduct an abstract experiment in which auditors choose how much costly assistance they request from clients and clients choose how much to cooperate. Results indicate that high-status clients are more cooperative, but only for requests that are relatively less costly to comply with. Further analysis indicates that high-status clients are more sensitive to changes in the costliness of requests. Overall, my findings demonstrate that collecting evidence from high-status client personnel could benefit auditors, but only if they manage the costliness of their requests. This conclusion gives guidance to practitioners on how status influences receptiveness towards auditor efforts to induce cooperation.