SUMMARY: Auditors often encounter contentious accounting and reporting issues that require resolution with the client. The purpose of the current study is to examine the impact of auditor rank on pre‐negotiation judgments. To address these issues, 25 managers and 18 partners examine a rich experimental case in which they are asked to consider their position and that of the client on a difficult inventory write‐down situation. The results indicate that partners take a harder stand than managers in calling for a higher initial proposed write‐down, minimum write‐down, and expected write‐down. Also, partners' estimates of the maximum write‐down the client is willing to accept are greater than managers' estimates. Finally, partners indicated a smaller difference between their initial write‐down and the estimated amount that would be recorded, as well as a larger difference between the estimated amount that would be recorded and the minimum acceptable write‐down, than did managers. Contrary to expectations, there were no differences in the level of persuasion knowledge between partners and managers.

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