The distraction effect of non-audit services on audit quality

Erik L. Beardsley, Andrew J. Imdieke, Thomas C. Omer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regulators have expressed concerns that an emphasis on non-audit services (NAS) could distract from the audit function, even for clients with minimal NAS purchases. Motivated by this concern, we examine whether a greater emphasis on providing NAS to audit clients generally (i.e., not to a specific client) can distract from the audit function, thus reducing audit quality. We find evidence of an NAS distraction effect, where a greater emphasis on NAS at the audit office-level results in more client financial statement restatements, even after controlling for client-specific NAS. Further, the association exists among clients that purchase minimal NAS, suggesting that this association relates to distraction effects in addition to independence issues examined in prior research. This study should be of interest to audit firms, audit committees, and regulators because it provides new evidence regarding issues related to a business model that includes both audit and non-audit services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101380
JournalJournal of Accounting and Economics
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Audit quality
  • Auditor distraction
  • Auditor fees
  • Non-audit services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'The distraction effect of non-audit services on audit quality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this