Compensation of internal auditors: Empirical evidence for different impact factors

Download This Article

Marc Eulerich ORCID logo, Tatiana Mazza ORCID logo, Joel Behrend, Ronja Krane ORCID logo


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


This paper examines the different factors which impact the compensation level of chief audit executives (CAE) and sheds light on often unobservable and, therefore, opaque drivers of CAE remuneration. An ordered logistic regression is used to analyze the effects of internal audit function (IAF) competences, stakeholder relationships, and firm complexity on the CAE compensation using survey data from 212 CAEs from a broad spectrum of companies and industries. The results of the study identify IAF competence and independence as fundamental drivers of CAE compensation and provide evidence that firm complexity in terms of foreign sales, listing status and need for monitoring constitute additional salary determinants related to the IAF environment. Our results are based on questionnaire data and subject to a possible response bias as they rely in part on the participants’ assessment of a given situation. This paper provides a benchmark for CAE compensation levels in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and offers insights on different company and IAF inherent factors that can be associated with varying salary outcomes. This study is the first to investigate the factors driving the overall compensation level of CAEs and by providing empirical evidence regarding determinants of CAE compensation.

Keywords: Internal Auditor, Internal Auditing Function, Chief Audit Executive, Compensation, Determinants

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization – M.E.; Methodology - M.E.; Writing – M.E., T.M., R.K., J.B.; Investigation – M.E., T.M., R.K., J.B.; Resources – M.E.; Supervision – M.E. and T.M.

JEL Classification: M40, M42, J30

Received: 25.10.2019
Accepted: 27.12.2019
Published online: 08.01.2020

How to cite this paper: Eulerich, M., Mazza, T., Behrend, J., & Krane, R. (2019). Compensation of internal auditors: Empirical evidence for different impact factors [Special issue]. Corporate Ownership & Control, 17(1), 336-349.