IQ and Audit Quality: Do Smarter Auditors Deliver Better Audits?

Jenni Kallunki, Juha-Pekka Kallunki, Lasse Niemi, Henrik Nilsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This study examines the role of an individual auditor’s cognitive ability in delivering high-quality audits. Our results from analyzing archival data from Sweden show that audit partners’ IQ scores obtained from psychological tests are positively associated with going-concern audit reporting accuracy and audit fee premiums. We also find some, albeit weak, evidence that audit partners’ IQ scores are negatively associated with the income-increasing abnormal accruals of the client. These results suggest that although audit services are standardized through various control mechanisms and audits are conducted by teams rather than by individual auditors, the cognitive ability of audit partners responsible for an audit remains important in delivering high-quality audit services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1416
JournalContemporary Accounting Research
Issue number3
Early online date13 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • audit quality
  • IQ
  • Cognitive ability


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