Researchers and practitioners have expressed the need to understand better the interactions between audit committees and auditors and how these interactions affect audits. Former partners affiliated with the external auditor and serving on the audit committee are a subset of audit committee members who can affect the audit. Consistent with social identity theory, we find that companies with an affiliated partner on their audit committee are less likely to dismiss the member's former firm than companies without the affiliation. Further, we find improved audit quality and increased effectiveness of auditor effort when affiliated partners serve on the audit committee. Finally, this quality improvement occurs contemporaneously with a reduction in audit fees and time spent on fieldwork, suggesting increased efficiency. Our study provides evidence that affiliated former partners on audit committees extend the tenure of the auditor-client relationship while also improving audit processes and outcomes.
JEL Classifications: M4; M42; G3.