During the period 1976-1988, Spain witnessed pervasive transformations that led the country from a military dictatorship to a fully-fledged democracy. In turn, the audit profession experienced high demand which doubled the number of members of the Institute of Sworn Auditors of Spain (Instituto de Censores Jurados de Cuentas de España). In this unique social laboratory, we draw on the insights of human capital theory and the entrepreneurship literature to examine the profile of newly certified auditors at the time of receiving the audit certificate that enabled them to (i) become a licensed auditor and engage in public practice, or (ii) become an unlicensed auditor and leave the profession immediately after receiving the professional qualification. Our results indicate that those Spanish auditors who had high general or specific human capital and job stability and were at the younger or older ends of the age continuum were less likely to apply for audit licences than their counterparts (i.e. low general or specific human capital, middle-aged, and unstable jobs).