Choosing an external auditor: does the composition of boards of directors matter?

Mishari M. Alfraih (Department of Accounting, College of Business Studies, The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Kuwait, Kuwait)

International Journal of Law and Management

ISSN: 1754-243X

Publication date: 8 May 2017



This paper aims to investigate the association between the composition of boards of directors and the choice of external auditor among companies listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 2013.


Consistent with prior research, audit quality is represented by two proxies, namely, a Big 4 and Non-Big 4 audit firm. Independence, diversity, interlocks, size and role duality are used as proxies for board composition. To accommodate the dichotomous dependent variable (auditor choice), a logistic regression model is used to test the hypothesized associations between board composition and auditor choice.


After controlling for firm-specific characteristics, results show that independence, diversity and size are statistically significant and increase the likelihood that a KSE-listed company selects a high-quality (Big 4) audit firm. Role duality is also statistically significantly but decreases the likelihood of choosing a Big 4 audit firm.


This research has implications for regulators, shareholders, boards and academics. The paper underlines the importance of the composition of the board in increasing the likelihood of hiring a high-quality audit firm. Regulators can draw upon these results when assessing the effectiveness of corporate governance mechanisms.


This paper is among the first to study the association between auditor choice and board composition using data from the frontier market of Kuwait, thus responding to the call for empirical research into the issue in less-developed markets. Overall, it sheds light on the effectiveness of board composition and provides empirical evidence that it is an important element in the choice of auditors. The findings indicate that board composition may be a mechanism that can promote demand for high audit quality.



Alfraih, M. (2017), "Choosing an external auditor: does the composition of boards of directors matter?", International Journal of Law and Management, Vol. 59 No. 3, pp. 394-412.

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