The purpose of this study is to examine audit report lags and audit report deadline margins. It specifically examines whether audits of large accelerated filers are completed within a shorter period as compared with regular accelerated filers due to the introduction of new deadline filing requirements by the SEC. The paper also examines whether large accelerated filers have shorter audit report deadline margins.
Using a sample of 7,129 firm-year observations over the period 2007-2013, an OLS regression model is applied by regressing audit report lags and audit report deadline margins on an indicator variable for large accelerated filers and a set of control variables.
Results indicate that audits of large accelerated filers have shorter audit report lags as compared with regular accelerated filers. Also, large accelerated filers have shorter audit report deadline margins as compared with regular accelerated filers. These results suggest that even though large accelerated filers’ audits are more complex by nature, auditors of these firms are under more pressure to complete their audits and issue their clients’ audit reports on time.
While the control variables included in the models are all based on established theories and validated in prior research, there may still be some control variables that were excluded from the study’s models. Also, these results cannot be generalized beyond firms that are categorized as large accelerated filers or accelerated filers.
Public accounting firms should be prepared to devote more resources to large accelerated filers’ clients. Also, regulators might need to reconsider revising the filing deadline requirements for the new category of large accelerated filers by weighing the pros against the cons of these new deadlines, as it appears that auditors of large accelerated filers need more time to complete their audits.
This study uses a new measuring tool in addition to audit report lags, which is the ‘audit report deadline margin’.
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