SUMMARY: Accounting research finds that auditors perform better when they are required to account for their actions to a superior. However, this research assumes that the auditor is accountable to one superior, when in practice auditors are accountable to multiple parties who may have multiple performance preferences. In this study, I experimentally examine whether the multiple accountabilities inherent in the audit environment cause auditors to experience negative affect and how negative affect impacts performance on both a low- and high-complexity audit task. I find that when auditors are accountable to multiple superiors they experience significantly more negative affect than when accountable to one superior. In addition, I find that increased negative affect can harm low-complexity audit task performance.

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