Due to limitations in IT expertise, auditors frequently rely upon IT specialists during audit engagements. Does social similarity between the auditor and an IT specialist induce social biases that affect the auditor's reliance on the specialist? Using an experiment with 60 auditors, I examine how financial auditors' reliance on IT specialists is affected by two dimensions of social similarity: the IT specialist's spatial distance (in-house office location versus sourcing from another office) and domain knowledge distinctiveness (distinct versus overlapping) relative to financial auditors. My findings provide evidence of a possible boundary condition to the widely accepted social identity theory by documenting the interaction of two dimensions of social similarity on auditor behavior. Specifically, when IT specialists possess distinct (overlapping) domain knowledge, auditors place greater (similar) reliance on out-of-office specialists relative to in-house specialists.

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