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Audit quality and abolition of mandated joint-audits: evidence from Kuwait

Mitchell Van der Zahn (Krypt Data Analysis and Research Services, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Imen Tebourbi (Department of Finance, University of Birmingham Dubai,Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Journal of Applied Accounting Research

ISSN: 0967-5426

Article publication date: 31 May 2022

Issue publication date: 13 January 2023




Statistical analysis is based on annual data collected from 132 Boursa Kuwait listed firms from 2016 to 2019 (i.e. yielding 528 firm-year observations). During the observation window (i.e. 2016 to 2019) 116 firms switched from joint-to solo-audits. Level and change models test if audit quality (proxied by abnormal accruals) is impacted by joint-/solo-audit switching. Therefore this paper explores the audit quality following abolition of mandated joint-audits in Kuwait.


This paper investigates the impact on audit quality following abolition of mandated joint-audit requirements in 2016 in Kuwait. The study is differentiated from prior analysis by focusing on an emerging economy setting, and by considering a more expansive set of joint-audit pairings, solo-audit types and switching options.


Abolition of mandated joint-audit requirements prompted a majority of Boursa Kuwait listed firms to switch to solo-audits. Analysis indicates that switch does not significantly decrease audit quality. Also, audit quality changes are not dependent on the specific joint-audit pairing/solo-audit type switch.

Research limitations/implications

Analysis is based on a single national setting comprising a small set of firms. Nonetheless, results imply the impact of joint-/solo-audit switching following abolition of mandated requirements is more universal with generalizability to different economic settings.

Practical implications

Results indicate that following elimination of mandated joint-audit requirements, firms have a propensity to favor solo-audits. Irrespective of the joint-audit pairing and solo-audit type, findings show a joint-/solo-audit switch does not compromise audit quality.


Analysis is the first to investigate the impact of joint/solo-audit switches on audit quality in an emerging economy with tests considering more joint-audit pairings than assessed previously.



The author expresses appreciation to the research seminar participants, held at the Canadian University Dubai, Zayed University and University of Dubai for feedback and suggestions on earlier versions of this research. The author also acknowledges the research assistance of Rashid Abdullah Darwish Alrahmah for helping with data collection and interpretation and translation of Arabic documentation. Any errors are that of the authors'. Funding for this project (e.g. payment of subscriptions) was all responsibility of the authors.


Van der Zahn, M. and Tebourbi, I. (2023), "Audit quality and abolition of mandated joint-audits: evidence from Kuwait", Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 70-105.



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