This study examines whether auditor competencies developed through industry specialization play a role in monitoring client firms' accounting estimates. Specifically, I focus on asset impairment decisions as a key accounting estimate given managers incentives to hide these losses and the PCAOB's criticisms of auditors' testing in this area. Impairments examined in this study relate to goodwill and intangibles, other long-lived assets, and investment securities. Using the portfolio share approach to measure office level specialization, I find that client firms engaging industry specialist auditors exhibit a greater propensity to record, and record larger, impairments relative to client firms engaging auditors with less specialization. The results also demonstrate that impairments recognized by clients of specialist auditors are more positively associated with concurrent bad news signals, suggesting that these losses are recognized on a more timely basis. This evidence enhances our understanding of the factors affecting auditors' ability to evaluate complex accounting estimates.
Data Availability: Data are available from the public sources cited in the text.