We investigate how auditors respond to the discipline-specific expertise of team members in undertaking greenhouse gas (GHG) assurance. Assurors conduct these engagements using multidisciplinary teams containing varying technical expertise, with some possessing financial audit-related expertise (“traditional auditors”) and others possessing science- or combined science/financial-related expertise. In an experiment in which traditional auditor participants respond to a simulated multidisciplinary team, we find that participants inappropriately rely on an explanation for an unexpected analytical procedures fluctuation from a senior-level assuror with GHG science-related expertise, irrespective of whether the situation requires that expertise. We also examine whether the review process might provide a solution to this inappropriate reliance, and report nuanced results. That is, we find that while inappropriate reliance on the senior-level assuror with science-related expertise is reduced by having a manager-level reviewer with financial audit-related expertise, inappropriate reliance is even greater when the manager-level reviewer possesses GHG science-related or combined science/financial expertise.

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