Selecting and Deselecting the Audit Service Industry and CPA

Julie Nowak & Oliver Lyhne Haslund

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis investigated the decline of Certified Public Accountants (“CPA”) in the audit service industry in Denmark. The industry has seen a decline from 4.300 CPAs to 3.209 in 2020, with an expectation of declining with additional 200 CPA’s a year through the next 10 years solely due to retirement. Denmark has only on average graduated approximately 53 CPAs a year from 2014 to 2022. This led to the objective of the master thesis, which is to investigate: Which conditions are of significance when auditors select and deselect the audit service industry, and education to become a Certified Public Accountant. Furthermore, if there is a connection between these selections and certain personal characteristics. The thesis was based on binomial logistical regression analysis’ which examined potential significant independent variables for the above-mentioned dependent variables. Descriptive statistics were performed as well, to examine more indebt significant differences. The personal characteristics that the thesis was limited to were defined as; gender, age, civil status, family situation, living situation, experience, position, one’s intention of becoming a CPA, one’s intentions in the auditing industry, one’s satisfaction in the industry, and personality traits. The objective of the thesis has been answered through an analysis of previous empirical studies, combined with a questionnaire composed of questions that targeted current and previous auditors regarding their intentions to become an auditor, their satisfaction in the industry, their intentions of becoming/not becoming a CPA, basic personal questions, and a HEXACO personality test. Furthermore, previous auditors were also asked about the reasons they left the industry. The key findings of the analysis were that “Position”, “Age”, “Honesty/Humility”, “Satisfaction with leadership” and “Work-life balance”, had a significant influence with auditors’ decision to stay in or leave the audit service industry, whilst controlling for the defined independent variables. In terms of choosing to become a CPA “Age” and “Position” were defined as significant variables in the decision-making process, whilst controlling for the defined independent variables. The main reasons for becoming a CPA are a higher salary, increased opportunities in the industry, it’s prestigious, exciting, and challenging. The main reasons for deciding not to become a CPA were the level of stress and the time required.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2022
Number of pages169
SupervisorsThomas Riise Johansen