The Role of International Experience in Audit Partners’ Careers

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2022
Authors
Zimmerman, Aleksandra
Newton, Nathan
Matkaluk, Lauren
Pevzner, Mikhail
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Because large audit firms have increasingly large, international clients, the firms promote a global mindset among their personnel. We examine one way in which auditors gain such a mindset: international work experience. We begin by conducting 22 semi-structured interviews with audit partners with prior international experience. These interviewees shed light on the reasons auditors obtain such experience, their perceptions of the benefits and challenges stemming from their experience, and their thoughts on how this experience influences their audit work. Based on these interviews and theory, we then empirically examine how international experience affects partners’ careers, client assignments, and audit outcomes. We find that international experience is associated with earlier promotion to partner and assignment to clients with greater foreign operations. However, we find little evidence that international experience affects audit quality. Our study provides important implications for audit personnel and firms as they weigh the costs and benefits of international rotations and training to promote a global mindset.
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audit partners, International experience, secondments, audit quality, career progression, career outcomes
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