The alleged perverse role of managerial incentives in accounting scandals, and the distinctive role of auditors in identifying and intervening in attempted earnings manipulation, highlight the importance of explicitly considering executive incentive plans by auditors in the auditing process. By empirically testing auditors' responses to CEO/CFO equity incentives in planning and pricing decisions using data from 2002 through 2009, we document compelling evidence that CFO equity incentives are positively associated with audit fees and CEO equity incentives are not statistically related to audit fees, suggesting that auditors perceive heightened audit risk associated with CFO equity incentives. Our further analyses reveal that the positive association between CFO equity incentives and audit fees is more pronounced in firms with weak internal controls, indicating heightened risk associated with CFO equity incentives in this setting perceived by auditors.

JEL Classifications: G30, G34, M42, M52.

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