The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's (PCAOB) Auditing Standard No. 5 (AS5) encourages external auditors to rely on internal auditors to increase the efficiency of lower-risk internal control evaluations (PCAOB 2007). We use post-SOX experimental data to compare the levels and effects of employer (client) identification on the control evaluations of internal (external) auditors. First, we find that internal auditors perceive a greater level of identification with the evaluated firm than do external auditors. We also find some evidence that, ceteris paribus, internal auditors are less lenient than external auditors when evaluating internal control deficiencies (i.e., tend to support management's preferred position to a lesser extent). Further, while we support Bamber and Iyer's (2007) results by finding that higher levels of external auditor client identification are associated with more lenient control evaluations, we demonstrate an opposite effect for internal auditors—higher levels of internal auditor employer identification are associated with less lenient control evaluations. Our results are important because we are the first to capture the relative levels of identification between internal and external auditors, as well as the first to compare directly internal and external auditor leniency, both of which are important in light of AS5. That is, we provide initial evidence that external auditors' increased reliance on internal auditors' work, while increasing audit efficiency, also could improve audit quality by resulting in less lenient internal control evaluations, due, at least in part, to the effects of employer and client identification.
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