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Sean Sun

Sean Sun staff profile picture

School of Accountancy
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
Three essays in international auditing

Research Description
My Ph.D. consists of three essays on international auditing. The first study examines the effects of auditing clients' workforce environment on audit fees as well as the role that national labor market flexibility plays in this relationship. Using a dataset from 30 countries for the period 2002 to 2017, I found evidence that audit fees are significantly lower for firms with a good workforce environment, suggesting that auditors perceive such clients as less risky; as a result, auditors expend less effort and/or charge a lower risk premium. Furthermore, this effect is stronger for firms in countries with a more flexible labor market. The mediation test results indicate that the relationship between the audit client workforce environment and audit fees is mediated by media coverage of workforce controversies. My study contributes to the international audit fee literature by identifying employee welfare as a distinct audit pricing factor, above and beyond the effects of overall corporate social responsibility practices

Personal Description
Xuan Sean Sun is a PhD student at School of Accountancy, Massey University, New Zealand. He also serves as a tutor and research assistant. He received a BMgmt from Xiamen University Tan Kah Kee College, China in 2015, and an MBS from Massey University, New Zealand in 2017. He was a recipient of CICPA Examinations First Award in 2015 and Massey University Doctoral Scholarship in 2018. His areas of research interest include financial reporting quality, corporate governance, and international accounting and auditing. He lives in Auckland, a city surrounded by sea and sailing boats.

Professor Ahsan Habib
Associate Professor Borhan Bhuiyan


Habib, A., Costa, M.D., Huang, H.J., Sun, X.S. (2020). Financial constraints and workforce environment: An international investigation, International Review of Finance, 1-12. (Rank: ABDC – A; SSCI)

Sun, X.S., Habib, A., Bhuiyan, M.B.U. (2020). Workforce environment and audit fees: International evidence, Journal of Contemporary Accounting & Economics, 16(1), 100182. (Rank: ABDC – A; SSCI)

Habib, A., Wu, J., Bhuiyan, M.B.U., Sun, X.S. (2019). Determinants of auditor choice: Review of the empirical literature, International Journal of Auditing, 23(2), 308-335. (Rank: ABDC – A; ESCI)

Habib, A., Bhuiyan, M.B.U., Sun, X.S. (2019). Audit partner busyness and cost of equity capital, International Journal of Auditing, 23(1), 57-72. (Rank: ABDC – A; ESCI)

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