The purpose of this study is to investigate the relative influence of industry- and task-based experience on auditor performance. Prior research has shown that both forms of experience can be beneficial, but studies thus far have not clarified their relative importance. Non-specialist auditor participants are used as they gain task experience across a range of industries, making it possible to disentangle the impact of each on performance. The literature indicates that the knowledge gained from industry-based experience can be applied to unfamiliar tasks set within a familiar industry context. Results from a behavioral experiment indicate that, as expected, industry-based experience has a more significant impact on auditor performance than task-based experience. Performance gains through industry experience are found to occur quickly and then level out. Reported results have implications for audit staff allocations to optimize auditor performance.

JEL Classifications: M42.

Data Availability: Data and the tasks used in this study are available on request.

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