The Determinants of Audit Client Satisfaction among Clients of Big 6 Firms

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A study's purpose was to investigate the relationship among client satisfaction, attributes of audit quality, auditor change, and controller work experience. To address this purpose, controllers of Fortune 1000 companies were asked to evaluate their existing auditor on each of 12 dimensions of audit quality. Controllers also rated their overall level of satisfaction with the audit team and with the audit firm. The researchers found a significant, positive relationship between many of the audit quality attributes previously identified in the literature and client satisfaction. Responsiveness to client needs, executive involvement, and effective and ongoing interaction with the audit committee, among other elements, are all positively associated with client satisfaction. There is a negative relationship between auditor skepticism and client satisfaction. There is also some evidence of a positive association between corporate controller work experience with the current auditor and client satisfaction, as well as evidence of a relation between auditor change and satisfaction. The overall pattern of results highlights the important roles of communication and relationships in promoting client satisfaction. In addition, the controllers provided several suggestions for improving services quality. The most common suggestions were to become more proactively involved in the client's business and to reduce audit team turnover.

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