The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the institutional changes accompanying the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) have standardized the audit’s role in the overall financial reporting process, thereby reducing the impact of auditor characteristics on financial reporting quality.
To test this hypothesis, the association between audit quality characteristics (auditor size and industry expertise) and measures of financial reporting quality (analyst earning forecast dispersion and accuracy) are estimated using regression analysis. Results of this analysis are compared across the pre- and post-SOX periods.
The results of the study document a significant relationship between auditor size (Big N vs non-Big N) and financial reporting quality (as proxied by analyst earnings forecast properties) during the pre-SOX period but not in the post-SOX period. Auditor industry expertise is significantly associated with financial reporting quality throughout the entire sample period. Thus, financial reporting quality continues to be dependent on the degree of specialization of an audit firm in both the pre- and post-SOX periods; however, the impact of auditor size as a surrogate for quality has diminished.
The SOX Act of 2002 represented one of the most significant changes in the regulation of audits. This paper adds to the literature by examining the Act’s effects on financial professionals’ perception of the impact of audit firm characteristics on their client’s financial reporting quality.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited