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The decision to outsource management advisory services

Pamela Kent (School of Business, Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




The purpose of this paper, using transaction cost economics as a theoretical framework, is to seek an understanding of a company's decision to purchase Management Advisory Services (MAS) from their external auditors and other consultants as opposed to assembling MAS internally within the company.


Data from annual reports for a pooled sample of 3,154 company years were collected for listed Australian companies to determine MAS from auditors. Data for a second sample were collected by undertaking a survey of listed companies to provide a figure for total management advisory services paid to auditors and other consultants. Ordinary least squares regression was used to analyse the data and predict companies' decision to outsource or internally generate MAS.


It is found that purchases of MAS from external auditors and other consultants are associated with, restructuring, number of controlled entities (subsidiaries), number of geographical segments, management change and frequency of contracting. Other company characteristics, including company's industry membership, short‐term growth, leverage, return on assets, use of a “big 5” auditor, type of audit report, and audit fees also explain the quantity of MAS purchased by a company from their external auditors and other consultants.


Transaction cost economics has not previously been applied to explain the decision to generate MAS internally by assembling knowledge within the company versus outsourcing from auditors and other consultants. The study makes use of unique data sets because it covers the period when regulations were not foreshowed restricting accounting firms supplying their audit clients with MAS.



Kent, P. (2011), "The decision to outsource management advisory services", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 672-696.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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