Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Accountancy

First Advisor

Kendall O. Bowlin

Second Advisor

Jeff S. Pickerd

Third Advisor

Jeremy B. Griffen


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Auditors often seek the advice of coworkers and others when they encounter unfamiliar areas of the audit. The quality of this advice is important, since it can determine the quality of auditor decision making. However, the quality of advice auditors receive varies as a result of varied expertise within audit firms, and it is therefore important that auditors recognize advice and source quality when making advice reliance decisions. Source quality is commonly determined by observing the characteristics of an advisor. Extant research has yet to explore how advisor characteristics, such as expertise and social status, impact an auditor’s reliance on an advisor. Further, little is known of the effects of previous experience with an advisor on future advice reliance decisions. I fill these gaps via two experiments. I separately analyze the interactive effects of social status and relevance of expertise on an auditor’s advice reliance and the interactive effects of social status and previous experience with an advisor on advice reliance. I do not find that auditors are more likely to rely on an advisor in future tasks after previously working with the advisor. That said, I do find that auditors consider the expertise of an advisor when relying on advice. However, they also fall prey to bias resulting from differences in social status. Specifically, if an advisor has relevant expertise and low social status, the auditor is less likely to rely on the advisor than if the advisor had high social status. These results are troubling because while the relevance of an advisor’s expertise is generally a good indicator of advice quality, social status is not. Therefore, audit decision making that does not incorporate expert advice due to social status is likely to be suboptimal, and the quality of the audit is likely to suffer.



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