Public accountants are often asked to work long hours to meet tight deadlines, resulting in poor work-life balance and low employee satisfaction. As auditors become less happy at work, does the quality of their work also suffer?
Jagan Krishnan and Joshua A. Khavis, PhD ’19, measure how employee satisfaction and work-life balance affect the quality of audits. While they found no association between employees’ perceptions of job satisfaction and audit quality, they did see a positive association between work-life balance and audit quality. Public accounting firms—especially the Big Four firms in which work-life balance is most uneven—should take note that overworked employees may end up producing lower quality work.
Krishnan and Khavis’ research received accolades at the American Accounting Association’s Annual Meeting in August 2021 in a plenary address by AAA President Bob Allen.