Accounting firms have steadily increased the use of outsourcing and offshoring of professional services including independent audit procedures. While firms suggest that the work is of higher quality and similar litigation risk, questions remain as to whether public perceptions may be more negative. This paper examines liability associated with an audit failure when work is performed by another office of the same firm or outsourced to a separate firm, and whether the work is performed domestically or in another country. Results indicate main effects for outsourcing on compensatory damages and an interaction between outsourcing and offshoring on punitive damages. Surprisingly, jurors assess higher than expected litigation awards for a failure by another domestic office of the firm for punitive damages. This result suggests that the close proximity in terms of both geography and organizational distance of the domestic office of the firm leads jurors to find the audit failure less understandable. Post hoc analyses indicate that potential jurors perceive that work completed by another domestic office of the firm has the highest expected quality and lowest risk, while work that is outsourced offshore is expected to be lowest quality and highest risk—consistent with proximity theory.

You do not currently have access to this content.