Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine whether country (Australia or Japan) and client type (public sector or private sector) impact the auditor s client risk assessments, subsequent audit planning decisions (planned audit hours) and audit planning responsiveness to client risk assessments. Design/methodology/approach - The study is based on previously developed audit planning models and uses working paper-sourced data of planned auditor effort and nine client risk assessments. The study samples are taken from public and private sector audit engagements of two major audit firms in Australia and Japan, respectively. Findings - Evidence is found that country and client type do have an impact on the auditor s client risk assessments and planned total audit hours, but they do not moderate audit planning responsiveness to client risk assessments. Research limitations/implications - The test variable is confounded by the country and client type characteristics inherent in the study s samples. If the differences are caused by country, this suggests that audit planning decisions vary across countries, even when the same auditing standards are adopted. However, if they are caused by client type, this suggests that the same audit approach (i.e. the audit risk model) is applied differently depending on client characteristics. Practical implications - These findings are useful to international standard setters, audit practice quality control and training, and audit research. Originality/value - No prior study has examined the role of country and client type on the auditor s client risk assessments and audit planning decisions. Further, no prior study has examined whether the relationship between the auditor s client risk assessments and audit planning decisions is moderated by country and client type.