SUMMARY: This research examines financial statement auditors’ trust of members of client management in the context of a disagreement. In this descriptive field study involving 48 partners and 23 managers of Canadian offices of international accounting firms, we explore factors that can influence an auditor’s trust of client management.
We find that a client representative’s openness of communication and demonstration of concern during an auditor-client disagreement are positively associated with the trust that an auditor feels for that individual. We also find that aspects of the auditor-client relationship are associated with auditor trust. Responses to general questions about trust and auditing indicate that our auditors believe it is important to trust their clients and that they attempt to ensure that trust does not impede professional skepticism, primarily through a rigorous audit process and the adoption of an independent attitude.