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2019B03 - The allocation of lead auditors to clients: large-scale evidence on the determinants and consequences of allocation decisions in audit offices (Prof. dr. Cardinaels)


We will conduct the first large scale archival research to investigate how audit firms/audit offices allocate lead auditors to their clients, and whether such decisions affect the performance of lead auditors. In Study 1, we will focus on workload balancing within audit offices/firms (i.e. the even distribution of assignments across lead auditors), and its interaction with lead auditors’ performance quality and relative power. In Study 2, we will investigate the impact of the degree of similarity between assignments allocated to an individual auditor in terms of industry overlap, to investigate quality and efficiency implications. In Study 3, we will focus on whether specialization in terms of assignment allocations at an early career stage affects audit quality in their future engagements.


An important factor that contributes to audit quality is how audit offices manage the assignments of their individual “lead” auditors, who oversee audit teams and sign the audit reports for their different clients. At present, systematic research about how offices make their allocation decisions in terms of which clients are assigned to which lead auditors is largely absent. The allocation of human capital in audit offices/audit firms is of great importance because it can potentially influence the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of audit.

Knowledge dissemination

FAR Literature Review: Workload allocation process in audit firms

FAR Practice Note: Workload allocation process within audit firms

FARview#18 with Eddy Cardinaels and Simon Dekeyser

FAR Working Paper 2023/09 - 20: Empirical Evidence on Gender Effect and Workload Allocation in Audit Firms

FAR Masterclass - Eddy Cardinaels & Simon Dekeyser

Back to overview
  • Project Number
  • Research team
    Prof. dr. Eddy Cardinaels
    Dr. Amin Sofla
    Ass. Prof. Simon Dekeyser
    Cara Zhang PhD student
  • Involved University
    Tilburg University, KU Leuven
  • Timeline
    01/20 - 12/23