Employee Profile

Tobias Svanstrøm

Adjunct Professor - Department of Accounting and Operations Management


Tobias Svanström is an Adjunct Professor in Auditing at the BI Norwegian Business School. He holds a PhD from Umeå University,

His research interest includes audit quality, auditor reporting, audit effort, audit partner characteristics, audit teams attributes, non-audit services and public oversight of auditors. He has published in leading journals in the field such as Contemporary Accounting Research, Auditing: A journal of Practice and Theory, European Accounting Review and Accounting and Business Research. He has also published multiple book chapters including in The Routledge Companion to Auditing.

Area of Expertise


Cahan, Steven F.; Che, Limei, Knechel, W. Robert & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2022)

Do Audit Teams Affect Audit Production and Quality? Evidence from Audit Teams’ Industry Knowledge

Contemporary Accounting Research, 39(4), s. 2657- 2695. Doi: 10.1111/1911-3846.12807 - Full text in research archive

We examine how the extent and distribution of industry knowledge within an audit team affect audit outcomes. While prior research examining the role of auditors' industry knowledge focuses mainly on audit firms, audit offices, and audit partners, audits are conducted by audit teams. Using an audit framework and proprietary data from a Big 4 firm that includes audit hours for each team member, we find that Big 4 audit teams with higher average industry knowledge are associated with more audit effort. In contrast, we find mixed evidence on the relation between the average hourly internal cost rate and team knowledge. Furthermore, we find that balanced teams, which have at least one team member who qualifies as an industry specialist at both the senior rank and junior rank, produce higher-quality audits than teams that have no specialists. In contrast, the audit quality of unbalanced teams, which have a specialist at the senior rank but not the junior rank or vice versa, is not statistically different than teams with no specialists. Overall, our evidence suggests that both the extent and distribution of industry knowledge within a team matter for audit production and that industry knowledge is utilized more effectively when it is spread throughout the team. The findings have useful implications for audit firms and regulators regarding how team composition and industry knowledge affect audit outcomes.

Che, Limei; Myllymäki, Emma-Riikka & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2022)

Auditors’ self-assessment of engagement quality and the role of stakeholder priority

Accounting and Business Research Doi: 10.1080/00014788.2021.2001638 - Full text in research archive

This study investigates auditors’ assessment of the quality of their own audit engagements, utilising survey data gathered from a Big Four audit firm in Sweden. We first examine to what extent auditors’ self-reported audit quality threatening behaviours (AQTBs) in the audit process are reflected in their assessment of overall audit quality (OAQ). The results indicate that AQTBs overall and all individual AQTBs are associated with quality assessment, though with variations in their significances. Second, we examine whether AQTBs and OAQ are associated with an auditor’s stakeholder priority, i.e. which stakeholder the auditor considers as her highest priority in the audit work. We find that auditors who consider the employer as the highest priority report more AQTBs. However, priorities are not related to OAQ. Furthermore, auditors prioritising the client or employer tend to assess the overall audit quality as being higher than what the AQTBs would suggest (i.e. they over-assess the quality). Interestingly, the findings regarding priorities are only evident among partners. In sum, the findings of this study provide important insights on how auditors themselves assess their audit quality, and on the role of auditors’ stakeholder priorities.

Annelin, Alice & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2021)

The Triggers and Consequences of Audit Team Stress: Qualitative evidence from engagement teams

International Journal of Auditing Doi: 10.1111/ijau.12254 - Full text in research archive

This study investigates audit team stress, its triggers and consequences to providequalitative evidence about what audit team stress is and how its triggers and conse-quences can influence team stress and audit quality. Audit teams in three differentaudit firms, including different audit team ranks, discussed team stress experiencesfrom one specific engagement during group and individual interviews. Audit workcan be stressful, and its consequences can threaten audit quality. Additionally, sharedteam stress differs from individual personal stress. This research discusses how auditteam stress, its triggers and consequences can occur at an interteam stress level,when all team members experience the same stress, and at an intrateam stress level,when individuals feel stress from a team experience. Contributions are made to auditliterature and practitioners about audit experiences at a team level and its influenceon audit quality, including new insights about time budget pressures and auditoraffect.

Che, Limei; Langli, John Christian & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2021)

Are Audit Partners’ Compensation and Audit Quality related to their consulting revenues?

Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 40(6) Doi: 10.1016/j.jaccpubpol.2021.106896

Recent accounting scandals have triggered renewed interest in the debate concerning whether audit firms should be banned from providing consulting services. Compared to the voluminous studies on consulting services to audit clients (i.e., non-audit services,hereafter NAS), little has been done to investigate consulting services to non-audit clients(hereafter CS). This study examines whether audit partners’ revenues from CS are associated with: i) partners’ compensation, and ii) audit quality (AQ), while controlling for revenues from NAS and auditing. We choose the Norwegian setting because of the unique and proprietary data on CS at the audit partner level. Our results provide initial evidence that partners’ compensation is positively associated with their revenues generated from CS. Regarding AQ, our findings indicate no relation between AQ and partners’ revenues from CS. This study contributes to the recent debate on multidisciplinary audit firms and should be of interest to regulators, audit firms, and users of audited financial statements.

Sundgren, Stefan & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2021)

Regulatory sanction risk and going-concern reporting practices: evidence for privately held firms

Accounting and Business Research, 52(4), s. 377- 416. Doi: 10.1080/00014788.2021.1931799 - Full text in research archive

Svanstrøm, Tobias; Stenheim, Tonny & Kulset, Ellen Hiorth Marthinsen (2020)

KAM Disclosure in the Auditor’s Report – A Literature Review

Stenheim, Tonny & Birkeland, Kari (red.). Finansiell og ikke-finansiell rapportering Festskrift til Hans Robert Schwencke

Che, Limei & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2019)

Team Composition and Labor Allocation in Audit Teams: A Descriptive Note

Managerial Auditing Journal, 34(5), s. 514- 544. Doi: 10.1108/MAJ-08-2018-1986 - Full text in research archive

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.

Bjørndalen, Simen; Akthar Larsen, Kim-Rafiq & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2019)

Rådgivningstjenester og revisjonskvalitet

Magma - Tidsskrift for økonomi og ledelse, s. 65- 79. - Full text in research archive

Denne artikkelen analyserer vi den tiltenkte effekten av revisjonsforordningen om begrensninger i honorar for rådgivningstjenester (537/2014/EU).1 Den monetære begrensningen på rådgivningstjenester er satt til maksimalt 70 prosent av de siste tre års gjennomsnittlige honorar for lovpålagt revisjon.2 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.

Che, Limei; Langli, John Christian & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2018)

Education, Experience, and Audit Effort

Auditing: A journal of Practice and Theory (AJPT), 37(3), s. 91- 115. Doi: 10.2308/ajpt-51896

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 non-linear: 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.

Giunti, Giulia & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2017)

The Role of Auditing in Banks’ Risk Assessment of SMEs: A literature review and new venues for future research

Tesar, George & Vincze, Zsuszanna (red.). Motivating SMEs to Cooperate and Internationalize: A Dynamic Perspective

Sundgren, Stefan & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2017)

Is the Public Oversight of Auditors Effective? The Impact of Sanctions on Loss of Clients, Salary and Audit Reporting

European Accounting Review, 26(4), s. 787- 818. Doi: 10.1080/09638180.2016.1203345 - Full text in research archive

Svanstrøm, Tobias (2016)

Time Pressure, Training Activities and Dysfunctional Auditor Behavior: Evidence from Small Audit Firms

International Journal of Auditing, 20(1), s. 42- 51. Doi: 10.1111/ijau.12054

Svanstrøm, Tobias & Alexeyeva, Irina (2015)

The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Audit and Non-Audit Fees: Evidence from Sweden

Managerial Auditing Journal, 30(5/6), s. 302- 323. Doi: 10.1108/MAJ-04-2014-1025

Langli, John Christian & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2014)

Audits of private companies

Knechel, W. Robert; Willekens, Marleen & Hay, D. W. (red.). The Routledge Companion to Auditing

Sormunen, Nina; Jeppesen, Kim Klarskov, Sundgren, Stefan & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2013)

Harmonisation of Audit Practice: Empirical Evidence from Going-Concern Reporting in the Nordic Countries

International Journal of Auditing, 17(3), s. 308- 326. Doi: 10.1111/ijau.12007

Sundgren, Stefan & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2013)

Auditor-in-Charge Characteristics and Going Concern Reporting

Contemporary Accounting Research, 31(2), s. 531- 550. Doi: 10.1111/1911-3846.12035

Sundgren, Stefan & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2013)

Audit office size, audit quality and audit pricing: evidence from small- and medium-sized enterprises

Accounting and Business Research, 43(1), s. 31- 55. Doi: 10.1080/00014788.2012.691710

Svanstrøm, Tobias (2012)

Non-audit services and audit quality: Evidence from private firms

European Accounting Review, 22(2), s. 337- 366. Doi: 10.1080/09638180.2012.706398

Svanstrøm, Tobias & Boter, Håkan (2012)

Regional Variation in the SME-Audit Firm Relationship

Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing, 8(3), s. 340- 356.

Svanstrøm, Tobias & Sundgren, Stefan (2012)

The Demand for Non-audit Services and Auditor-Client Relationships - Evidence from Swedish Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

International Journal of Auditing, 16(1), s. 54- 78. Doi: 10.1111/j.1099-1123.2011.00441.x

Svanstrøm, Tobias (2011)

Förbud mot rådgivningstjänster till revisionsklienter och krav på rotation av revisionsbyrå - Är revisorns oberoende överreglerat?

Bråthen, Tore (red.). Moderne forretningsjus II

Che, Limei & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2018)

Resource Allocation and Risk Premium to Public versus Private Audit Clients

[Academic lecture]. Stockholm School of Economics.

Che, Limei & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2017)

Resource allocation and billing policies in different engagement risk environments

[Academic lecture]. The 16th International Empirical Accounting Research in China.

Che, Limei & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2017)

Resource allocation in different engagement risk environments

[Academic lecture]. Central University of Finance and Economics.

Che, Limei & Svanstrøm, Tobias (2017)

Resource Allocation in different engagement risk environments

[Academic lecture]. Fudan University.

Svanstrøm, Tobias (2015)

Vilka är de vanligaste bristerna i en revision? En kartläggning av RN:s disciplinärenden 2009-2014.

[Popular scientific article]. Balans : tidskrift för redovisning och revision, s. 12- 14.

Svanstrøm, Tobias (2014)

En studie av revisorers rapportering av fortsatt drift

[Popular scientific article]. Balans : tidskrift för redovisning och revision, 40(3), s. 10- 12.

Svanstrøm, Tobias & Sundgren, Stefan (2010)

Avskaffad plikt kräver ökat fokus på rådgivningstjänster

[Article in business/trade/industry journal]. Balans : tidskrift för redovisning och revision, s. 50- 53.

Svanstrøm, Tobias (2010)

Demand for volundary financial audits: Evidence from Sweden

[Academic lecture]. 5th Workshop on Auditing and Financial Accounting Research (AFAR).

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
2008 Umeå University Ph.D.
2001 Umeå University Master
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2020 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Adjunct Professor
2018 - Present Umeå University Professor