The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board recently proposed amendments to the standard audit report that would require the disclosure of critical audit matters (CAMs), and the Securities and Exchange Commission continues to evaluate the use of principles-based (imprecise) accounting standards within U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. We assert that jurors perceive precise accounting standards to constrain auditors' control over financial reporting outcomes, resulting in a lower propensity for negligence verdicts when the accounting treatment conforms to the precise standard. However, we hypothesize that the use of either imprecise standards or CAMs reduces the extent to which jurors perceive this constraint to exist, leading to increased auditor liability. We present experimental evidence supporting this argument. Our results highlight the similarities between the effects of imprecise accounting standards and CAMs on negligence assessments. These results provide insight for regulators and the auditing profession about the potential consequences of the proposed regulatory changes.

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