Selecting an Audit Partner: How to Determine the Right ‘Fit’
Management might view the auditor selection process as a compliance exercise. However, just as each company is unique, so are audit partners. Individual audit partners have diverse backgrounds and characteristics, which empowers them to provide relevant business insights to your organization and enables them to bring unique skills and perspectives to an audit engagement. In fact, many public accounting firms market the additional value their audit partners can bring to a client’s business. Recent academic research has also shown that individual audit partners can have a more significant impact on the client’s financial reporting quality than the audit firm. Therefore, being able to better evaluate partner characteristics to determine which characteristics align or ‘fit’ with your company’s needs and strategies is an important skill for management. To shed light on the audit partner characteristics that management values, we first report the results of a survey conducted with over 100 accounting managers and executives through the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Second, we provide advice and highlight a publicly available resource (i.e., Form AP) to help you to better select the right partner ‘fit’.