The accuracy and other properties of analyst earnings forecasts represent potentially useful proxies for the impact of audit quality on client financial reports. Extant research in the auditing literature, however, is characterized by diametrically opposite predictions and inconsistent findings regarding the relationship between audit quality and analyst forecast accuracy. We argue that a potential reason for the inconsistency in the literature reflects these studies' focus on end-of-year forecast accuracy, which is subject to competing effects of audit quality. High-quality auditors may simultaneously improve forecast accuracy through their impact on the decision usefulness of clients' prior period reports, and reduce forecast accuracy by constraining client attempts to manage earnings in the direction of the consensus forecast. We argue and present evidence in support of the conjecture that analysts' beginning-of-year forecasts are a superior metric for identifying the impact of audit quality on the properties of analyst forecasts because the decision usefulness effect of audit quality should be dominant with respect to those forecasts.

Data Availability: Data are available from sources identified in the article.

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