This study draws on human capital theory to measure the quality of accounting personnel based on their education level and investigate whether the education level of the client firm’s accounting personnel affects auditors’ assessment of audit risk by examining audit outcomes. It shows that auditors charge higher fees and are more likely to make audit adjustments for companies whose accounting personnel have a lower level of education. The relationship between the education level of accounting personnel and audit fees (audit adjustments) is robust to an instrumental variable model, an entropy balancing approach, and a difference-in-differences analysis. Audit firms strategically assign more experienced partners to audit companies whose accounting personnel’s average education levels are relatively low. Taken together, these findings suggest that the education level of clients’ accounting personnel affects auditors’ assessment of audit risk and audit outcomes.
JEL Classifications: M40; M42; J01; J24.