Concession, contention, and accountability in auditor-client negotiations

Jason M. Bergner, Sean A. Peffer, Robert J. Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study investigates how tactics employed by a client during negotiations impact experienced auditors’ propensity to waive material adjustments and whether the salience of a strict concurring partner review affects the decision to waive. Different psychological theories predict that auditors may either become more contentious or more concessionary when facing a contentious client. Our results suggest that auditors are more likely to waive material adjustments when clients use contending tactics, but not concessionary tactics. However, we also find that making a strict concurring partner review salient reduces this propensity. Further, we find that a theory not previously applied to this line of research, the level-of-aspiration theory, may predict how auditors react. These results offer additional insights into auditor-client negotiations and reveal that existing quality controls can influence these negotiations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Research in Accounting
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, American Accounting Association. All rights reserved.


  • Accountability
  • Auditor-client negotiations
  • Concurring partner review
  • Level-of-aspiration theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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