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  • 1.
    Alexeyeva, Irina
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Knowledge Spillover and Audit Efficiency: Evidence from the Joint Provision of Audit and Non-Audit ServicesManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this study is to provide a deeper insight into the effects of the joint provision of audit and non-audit services. The study investigates how the provision of non-audit services affects knowledge spillover and audit efficiency. In particular, we focus on the role of communication with and trust in colleagues providing non-audit services in knowledge transfer. Using survey data from a large sample of auditors, we show that the levels of communication and trust are positively associated with perceived knowledge spillover. Furthermore, these factors are essential for audit efficiency, suggesting that the information gained from the provision of non-audit services can reduce auditors’ effort (time) spent on different audit procedures. Further, we distinguish between different types of audit efficiency related to parts of the audit process and highlight the essential factors for each particular type. 

  • 2.
    Alexeyeva, Irina
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    The impact of the global financial crisis on audit and non-audit fees: evidence from Sweden2015In: Managerial Auditing Journal, ISSN 0268-6902, E-ISSN 1758-7735, Vol. 30, no 4-5, p. 302-323Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The paper aims to investigate audit and non-audit fees during the global financial crisis (GFC) in an environment that is relatively sparsely regulated with regard to the provision of non-audit services.

    Design/methodology/approach: Audit and non-audit fees were studied during pre-GFC (2006-2007), GFC (2008-2009) and post-GFC (2010-2011) periods.

    Findings: During the GFC, Swedish companies benefited from an increase in sales and total assets, although return on assets decreased. In this setting, the auditors charged higher audit fees compared with the pre-GFC period, despite the absence of increased audit reporting lags. A significant increase in audit fees continued during the post-crisis periods with auditors paying more attention to companies’ leverage and whether they report losses. At the same time, the companies spent less on non-audit services.

    Research limitations/implications: This study is limited to companies from Sweden, which was less affected by the GFC.

    Practical implications: GFC auditors are able to charge higher audit fees to public companies including those that are well-performing during financial crises, and they are also able to increase the audit fees in the post-crisis period. This implies that auditors put in extra audit effort to compensate for higher risk, or that they are good at negotiating prices with their clients. However, non-audit fees decreased during the same period, implying that the demand for these services drops under financial instability.

    Originality/value: The study highlights auditors’ behavior in the liberal economic environment and it studies both audit fees and non-audit fees before GFC, during GFC and after the GFC. The GFC appears to have provided audit firms the opportunity to extract higher audit fees. Our findings are of interest to managers, auditors and regulators.

  • 3.
    Annelin, Alice
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. BI Norwegian Business School.
    The Triggers and Consequences of Audit Team StressManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Annelin, Alice
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. BI Norwegian Business School.
    Willekens, Marleen
    Opening the Black Box of Audit Teams: Qualitative Evidence of Composition and Role StructureManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 5. Bjørndalen, Simen
    et al.
    Akhtar Larsen, Kim-Rafiq
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Rådgivningstjenester og revisjonskvalitet: en studie av 30 europeiske land2019In: Magma - Tidsskrift for økonomi og ledelse, ISSN 1500-0788, E-ISSN 1500-6069, no 1, p. 65-79Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [no]

    I denne artikkelen analyserer vi den tiltenkte effekten av revisjonsforordningen om begrensninger i honorar for rådgivningstjenester (537/2014/EU). 37 Den monetære begrensningen på rådgivningstjenester er satt til maksimalt 70 prosent av de siste tre års gjennomsnittlige honorar for lovpålagt revisjon. 38 Vi undersøker hvorvidt målsettingen om økt revisjonskvalitet gjennom reduserte rådgivningstjenester har stadfeste i empiri.

    Vi benytter estimerte skjønnsmessige periodiseringer som måleparameter på revisjonskvalitet, ettersom dette er et relevant mål på revisors evne til å begrense ekstreme og opportunistiske regnskapsvalg fra ledelsen (Myers mfl., 2003). For å beregne andelen av estimerte skjønnsmessige periodiseringer har vi benyttet Modified Jones Model, som gjennom empiri har vist seg å være blant de mest anerkjente og brukte som indikasjon på lav regnskapskvalitet (Dechow mfl., 1995). Vi deler inn tre ulike nivåer på estimerte skjønnsmessige periodiseringer: resultatøkende, reduserende og absolutt. Det som skiller denne studien fra tidligere forskning, er blant annet dens rekkevidde. Undersøkelsen gjennomføres for 30 land i Europa, i perioden 2009 til 2015. Som et eksplorativt bidrag deler vi inn i fem ulike strata basert på regnskapsteoretiske likheter mellom nasjonene, og sammenligner mot hovedmodellene. Videre undersøker vi også hvorvidt vårt datasett kan underbygge 70 prosent-grensen på honorar for rådgivningstjenester slik den er fastsatt i revisjonsforordningen.

    Vår analyse kan antyde at rådgivningstjenester påvirker revisjonskvalitet negativt. Dette innebærer at en økning i rådgivningstjenester indikerer synkende kvalitet på revisjonen som utføres. Videre kan våre funn tyde på at begrensningen på honorar for rådgivningstjenester antageligvis er satt for høyt.

  • 6. Che, Limei
    et al.
    Langli, John Christian
    BI Norwegian Business School.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Education, Experience and Audit Effort2018In: Auditing, ISSN 0278-0380, E-ISSN 1558-7991, Vol. 37, no 3, p. 91-115Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper examines how audit effort, measured by the estimated number of audit hours used to perform the clients' audits, is associated with engagement partners' formal education, continuing professional education (CPE), and professional experience. Although the literature provides considerable evidence for the determinants of audit fees, our understanding of how audit effort is related to these partner characteristics is limited. The aim of this paper is to shed light on partner-specific factors that may influence how much audit effort they and their team members exert. Using a sample of 1,738 unique partners and 178,770 client-year observations, we find evidence that auditors with a master's degree exert more effort than those with a bachelor's degree. We also find a positive relation between audit effort and CPE. The relation between audit effort and professional experience is nonlinear: the least experienced auditors put in the least effort, moderately experienced auditors exert the most effort, while the effort level of the most experienced auditors is in between. We also document that the accuracy of going concern modified audit reports is higher for more knowledgeable auditors.

  • 7. Che, Limei
    et al.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway.
    Team composition and labor allocation in audit teams: a descriptive note2019In: Managerial Auditing Journal, ISSN 0268-6902, E-ISSN 1758-7735, Vol. 34, no 5, p. 514-544Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to describe, illustrate and provide a deeper understanding of team composition and labor allocation in audit teams by quantifying the exact value of resources at different levels of the audit production. Audit teams have been considered as a black box in audit research. Therefore, this paper reports descriptive statistics on (levels and proportions of) hours and costs allocated to auditor ranks (and the number and value, i.e. billing rates, of auditors for different ranks and the entire team) to shed new light on audit teams. Design/methodology/approach This study uses a proprietary data set containing disaggregated information on hours, costs and billing rates for each team member in each of 908 audit engagements. The data are provided by a Swedish Big 4 audit firm. The study uses a purely descriptive approach and categorizes auditors into seven ranks. As size and the publicly listed status are crucial determinants of audit production, the paper splits engagements in public and private companies and reports statistics for size quartiles of both public and private clients. Findings The paper provides descriptive statistics for (1) client size, (2) audit team members, (3) audit hours, (4) audit costs, (5) proportion of audit hours, (6) proportion of audit costs, (7) billing rates and (8) variation of billing rates. Results show that compared to private clients, the audit firm allocates higher effort from auditors in higher ranks and lower effort from auditors in lower ranks to public clients. Another finding is that allocation varies with client size for private clients, but less so for public clients. Originality/value In an area with sparse literature, this descriptive study serves as a first step to improve our understanding and guide future research. It provides concrete support for previously known theory.

  • 8. Che, Limei
    et al.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Team Composition and Labour Allocation in Audit Teams: A Descriptive NoteIn: Managerial Auditing Journal, ISSN 0268-6902, E-ISSN 1758-7735Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Giunti, Giulia
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. BI Norwegian Business School.
    The role of auditing in banks' risk assessment of SMEs: a literature review and new venues for future research2017In: Motivating SMEs to cooperate and internationalize: a dynamic perspective / [ed] George Tesar and Zsuszanna Vincze, New York: Routledge, 2017, p. 113-130Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 10. Hultqvist, Elin
    et al.
    Brännström, Ida
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Vilka är de vanligaste bristerna i en revision? En kartläggning av RN:s disciplinärenden 2009-2014.2015In: Balans : tidskrift för redovisning och revision, ISSN 0346-8208, no Fördjupning 4, p. 12-15Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 11. Langli, John Christian
    et al.
    Svanström, Tobias
    BI Norwegian Business School.
    Audits of private companies2014In: Routledge companion to auditing / [ed] David Hay, W Robert Knechel and Marleen Willekens, London and New York: Routledge, 2014, p. 148-158Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Salimi Sofla, Amin
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
    Knechel, Robert
    Recognition and Control of Professional Scepticism in Accounting Firms: Evidence from Archival-survey Linked Data2015Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 13. Sormunen, Nina
    et al.
    Jeppesen, Kim
    Sundgren, Stefan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. University of Vaasa.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law, BI Norwegian Business School.
    Harmonisation of Audit Practice: Empirical Evidence from Going-Concern Reporting in the Nordic Countries2013In: International Journal of Auditing, ISSN 1090-6738, E-ISSN 1099-1123, Vol. 17, no 3, p. 308-326Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The study uses a sample of 2,941 bankrupt firms from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in the period 2007 to 2011, and investigates the harmonisation of audit behaviour in terms of going-concern reporting. Even though the Nordic countries have similar legal systems and, for all practical purposes, identical audit requirements regarding going-concern reporting, the study findings show significant differences in going-concern reporting before bankruptcy between the Nordic countries. One key result is that Danish and Norwegian companies get a going-concern opinion prior to bankruptcy more frequently than companies in Sweden and Finland. Although, this is an interesting finding, it should be interpreted with caution, particularly as it has not been possible to empirically test the reasons behind this variation. Potential reasons are discussed, such as differences in when the going-concern standard was introduced and implemented in each country. Alternatively, the formal requirement for becoming an authorised or approved auditor, the demand for continuing education and the risk of disciplinary sanctions could all drive national variance in reporting quality in favour of a higher quality in Denmark and Norway compared to Sweden and Finland. Finally, the study findings also indicate that differences in audit reporting behaviour are moderated by international audit firm networks.

  • 14.
    Sundgren, Stefan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Audit office size, audit quality and audit pricing: Evidence from small- and medium-sized enterprises2013In: Accounting and Business Research, ISSN 0001-4788, E-ISSN 2159-4260, Vol. 43, no 1, p. 1-25Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Using Swedish data, we investigate how audit quality and audit pricing vary with audit firm and office size. In contrast to prior studies, we use disciplinary sanctions issued against auditors not meeting the quality requirement as the measure of audit quality. We find no significant differences in the likelihood of sanctions between Big 4 audit firms and the fifth and sixth largest audit firms in Sweden (Grant Thornton and BDO). We refer to these collectively as ‘Top 6’. However, we find that the probabilities of warnings or exclusions from the profession are much higher for non-Top 6 auditors in Sweden than for Top 6 auditors. Furthermore, we find a strong negative association between the likelihood of sanctions and audit office size for non-Top 6 auditors. This association is insignificant for Top 6 audit firms. Audit fees follow a similar pattern and indicate that larger audit firms and offices put in more effort or have greater expertise. These results suggest that audit quality is differentiated in the private segment market. However, contrary to prior studies, our results suggest that the important dimensions are Top 6 versus non-Top 6 and the office size of non-Top 6 audit firms.

  • 15.
    Sundgren, Stefan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. University of Vaasa.
    Svanström, Tobias
    BI Norwegian Business School.
    Auditor-in-Charge Characteristics and Going-concern Reporting2014In: Contemporary Accounting Research, ISSN 0823-9150, E-ISSN 1911-3846, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 531-550Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We examine the effect of auditor-in-charge characteristics on audit quality using the propensity to issue a going-concern opinion as the measure of audit quality. We extend the sparse literature on auditor-in-charge characteristics by investigating how audit quality is related to the number of audit assignments and the age of the auditor. First, there is a concern that a very large number of assignments negatively affect the time and effort invested in each assignment and that the auditor may take shortcuts in important audit procedures in order to save time. Second, based on theories on career stage, older auditors may lack inherent motivation to invest enough effort in training activities and learning auditing standards. We use a sample of 1,145 privately held small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that filed for bankruptcy between October 2008 and September 2009. Our results show a negative association between the number of audit assignments held by the auditor-in-charge and audit quality, and we find that the age of the auditor-in-charge is negatively associated with audit quality. This study shows that auditor-in-charge characteristics are important determinants for audit quality in private companies and suggests that regulators should pay attention to these quality concerns and evaluate whether an upper limit on the number of assignments held would be an effective way of improving audit quality.

  • 16.
    Sundgren, Stefan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
    Avskaffad plikt kräver ökad fokus på rådgivning2010In: Balans : tidskrift för redovisning och revision, ISSN 0346-8208, no 4, p. 50-53Article, book review (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [sv]

    Revisionsbyrån är den viktigaste källan för råd, framför allt i små och medelstora bolag. Revisionsbyråerna får dessutom högt betyg avseende rådgivningen. Det visar resultaten av en enkätstudie som Tobias Svanström och Stefan Sundgren redogör för i denna artikel. En viktig faktor till att revisorn anlitas för rådgivning är den kontakt som etablerats genom revisionsuppdraget.

  • 17. Sundgren, Stefan
    et al.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    En studie av revisorers rapportering om fortsatt drift2014In: Balans : tidskrift för redovisning och revision, ISSN 0346-8208, no Fördjupning 3, p. 1-5Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 18.
    Sundgren, Stefan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration. BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway.
    Is the public oversight of auditors effective?: the impact of sanctions on loss of clients, salary and audit reporting2017In: The European Accounting Review, ISSN 0963-8180, E-ISSN 1468-4497, Vol. 26, no 4, p. 787-818Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines the consequences of sanctions against individual Swedish auditors issued by the Supervisory Board of Public Accountants (SBPA). The results provide no support for individual auditor client loss after receiving a sanction. However, we find that Big 4 auditors have a lower salary after the sanction than before. Finally, we do not find that auditors become more conservative in their reporting after being sanctioned. Collectively, our results support that public oversight sanctions have relatively limited consequences for auditors of private companies.

  • 19.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
    Förbud mot rådgivningstjänster till revisionsklienter och krav på rotation av revisionsbyrå: är revisorns oberoende överreglerat?2011In: Moderne forretningsjus II / [ed] Tore Bråthen, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2011, p. 431-462Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 20.
    Svanström, Tobias
    BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway.
    Non-audit services and audit quality: evidence from private firms2013In: The European Accounting Review, ISSN 0963-8180, E-ISSN 1468-4497, Vol. 22, no 2, p. 337-366Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between audit quality in private firms and the provision of non-audit services (NAS) an issue that has rarely been considered in prior research. The threats to auditor independence are different in private firms compared to public firms. The same is true of the opportunities to use the same knowledge for audit and for NAS. Therefore, the effect of the provision of NAS on audit quality is also likely to be different. In this study, audit quality is measured by discretionary accruals, as well as by managers' perceptions of the extent to which the audit improves accounting quality. The regression analysis is based on 420 surveyed private firms in Sweden and suggests that audit quality is positively associated with NAS in general and accounting services in particular. The findings indicate that the joint provision of audit and NAS do not necessarily result in impaired auditor independence, but rather support the existence of knowledge spillover between the services.

  • 21.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
    Regionala skillnader vid avskaffad revisionsplikt: Rådgivningstjänster från revisionsbyrån - då behåller företagen revisionen2008In: Balans, ISSN 0346-8208, Vol. 34, no 3, p. 43-46Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 22.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
    Revision och rådgivning: Efterfrågan, kvalitet och oberoende2008Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Auditing is common in many organizations and a legal requirement for all limited liability companies in Sweden (ABL 9:1). In directives from the government it is clearly stated that small firms will be exempted from the statutory audit requirement. In light of this forthcoming change in regulations, this thesis is used to analyze which factors are associated with a demand for auditing. Analysis in this thesis is based on a national survey including 900 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Around 2/3 of respondent’s (CEO or CFO) state that the firm will choose to have audited accounts even in the absence of such a legal requirement. Based on responses from 421 firms, logistic regression results indicated that firms purchasing advisory services from an audit firm will choose to have their accounts audited to a higher extent than those firms not receiving advisory services. This finding, not identified in prior studies, is linked to advisory services being of higher quality when the audit firm also performs audit work. The demand for auditing is further positively associated with firm size, use of a Big 4 audit firm and firms located in the county of Småland. From these findings it follows that the traditional view of auditing as merely a control mechanism needs to be complemented by consideration of aspects of the internal value of auditing.

    The approaches of SME’s when engaging an audit firm for different types of advisory services is examined in this study based upon survey data. It is shown that the majority of advisory services provided are related to core competencies of an auditor such as tax, accounting and law. Logistic regression results show a positive association between firms purchasing advisory services and the length of the relationship with the provider as well as with the respondent’s perception of the audit quality. The latter association further confirms the close connection between audit and advisory services. It should be noted that when an audit firm recommends advisory services their use is significantly higher. There is also support for the demand for advisory services being positively related to firms that are corporate subsidiaries and located in Småland and Norrland, but negatively associated with the respondent’s level of education. It follows that factors related to demand for advisory services on an aggregate level could be categorized as being dependent on firm characteristics, audit firm characteristics and the relationship between the parties.

    Provision of non-audit services (NAS), such as different types of advisory services, to audit clients and the potential consequences for auditor independence and audit quality have been discussed in public debates and research as well as being subject of regulation. OLS regression results show that reporting quality is higher when the audit firm provides advisory services as well as preparing accounts. These findings hold for both discretionary accruals and a respondent’s perception of reporting quality. The provision of NAS improves the reporting quality due to better knowledge of the client and its operations. From the perspective of reporting quality this finding implies that there is no necessity to further restrict the possibility for an audit firm to provide advisory services as well as preparing accounts for audit clients.

  • 23.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
    Revisorn som rådgivare: En studie av mindre och medelstora företags relation till revisorn2004Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
  • 24.
    Svanström, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
    Time Pressure, Training Activities and Dysfunctional Auditor Behaviour: Evidence from Small Audit Firms2016In: International Journal of Auditing, ISSN 1090-6738, E-ISSN 1099-1123, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 42-51Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study tests the association between time pressure, training activities and dysfunctional auditor behaviour insmall audit firms. Based on survey responses from 235 certified auditors working in small audit firms in Sweden,the analysis shows that perceived time pressure is positively associated with dysfunctional auditor behaviour,while the level of participation in training activities such as workshops and seminars is negatively associated withdysfunctional auditor behaviour. These findings suggest that audit quality is at risk when auditors experience highlevels of time pressure but also that auditors who frequently take part in training activities to a lesser extent engagein dysfunctional auditor behaviour.

  • 25.
    Svanström, Tobias
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
    Boter, Håkan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
    Regional Variation in the SME-Audit Firm Relationship2012In: Journal of modern accounting and auditing, ISSN 1548-6583, Vol. 8, no 3, p. 340-356Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of the paper is to examine how the relationship between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and their auditor varies between regions. Auditing literature, regional, and network studies are used to set up hypotheses on differences between rural regions and the metropolitan urban region. Survey data from 421 SMEs are analyzed and findings support that in rural regions, especially those with a strong entrepreneurial culture and tight inter-organizational links, the SME-auditor relationship is to a larger extent trust-based compared to the urban region. In the rural region, the auditor assumes the role as a business support agent providing valuable strategic advice. The SME-auditor relationship is weakest in the urban region where the auditor’s role is limited.

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