The Work Environment in Large Audit Firms: Current Perceptions and Possible Improvements
School of Accountancy
This study examines the work environment in the audit division of large public accounting firms. Based on 18 semi-structured interviews (eight partners and ten staff auditors currently or recently employed by large public accounting firms), we find that the interviewees cite several positive aspects of auditing careers including the people, intellectual stimulation, challenge, and responsibility. However, they also cite significant negatives, including PCAOB regulation, stress, and hours. None of the staff interviewees plans to stay in public accounting long term, and while all of the partners would recommend public accounting to others, most focused only on public accounting as a place to start a career. The findings raise a number of concerns regarding the profession's ability to sustain the quality of its human capital, especially since there are no signs of a radically improved work environment in public accounting that may appeal to Millennials. We conclude by discussing possible improvements in the public accounting work environment that would address the issues raised in the interviews.
Current Issues in Auditing
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)