Public oversight of audit firms: the slippery-slope of enforcing regulation

Carlin Dowling, W Robert Knechel, Robyn Moroney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This study uses the slippery-slope framework to understand how an oversight regulator's enforcement style influences audit firm compliance. Using data from interviews with audit regulators and audit partners, we find that partners perceive the regulator's enforcement style has shifted from being more collaborative to being more coercive. A consequence of this shift is that partners believe the development of trust between the two parties has been inhibited and a forced compliance climate has emerged. In response, firms have mandated strategies to increase the visibility of compliance, such as increasing mandatory use of checklists. Audit partners express some concern that oversight of the profession has resulted in firms adapting their audit process in ways aimed at minimizing inspection risk and not necessarily improving audit quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-380
Number of pages28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Audit firm inspections
  • Audit regulation
  • Enforcement style
  • Slippery-slope framework

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