There has been growing concern worldwide regarding audit quality in Japan after the Kanebo and Olympus accounting scandals. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Japanese audit market from 2001 to 2011 to determine whether audit quality differs between Big N and Non-Big N audit firms and whether this difference, if existed, changed during 2007 when the number of big audit firms declined from four to three and the requirements of audit quality became more rigorous.
This study employs a sample of Japanese listed firms from fiscal year 2001 to 2011. Five proxy variables for audit quality are used and the data are analyzed using the propensity score matching method.
The authors show that irrespective of their size, all audit firms in Japan provide the same quality of service, when controlling for client characteristics including keiretsu, foreign sales ratio and bankruptcy risk measured in Japan. Additionally, the results suggest that although only three major audit firms remain in the Japanese audit market after the dissolution of PricewaterhouseCooper’s Chuo-Aoyama firm in 2007, the audit quality difference between Big N and Non-Big N remained unchanged before and after 2007.
The study contributes to the lack of existing empirical evidence on audit quality in Japan, a country characterized with low audit litigation risk and more emphasis on auditor reputation, given the influence of the notable change in Japanese audit market competition from Big 4 to Big 3. The study’s research design contributes to the extant literature by using multiple proxies of audit quality.
This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) Number 24730385.
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