The purpose of this study is to examine the association between certain audit firm characteristics and the number of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)-identified audit deficiencies.
Using a hand-collected sample of PCAOB inspection reports for small audit firms with 100 or less issuer clients from 2007 through 2010, an ordinary least squares model is applied by regressing the number of deficiencies on a set of audit firm characteristics.
Results show that the number of PCAOB-identified audit deficiencies is positively associated with the number of issuer clients and negatively associated with the number of branch offices, the human capital leverage and the organization structure as Limited Liability Partnership firms. Additional analysis also shows that the PCAOB inspection length is positively associated with the number of deficiencies, the number of branch offices and the number of issuer clients, but negatively associated with the organization structure as limited liability company firms. Moreover, the PCAOB inspection lag is positively associated with the number of deficiencies and the number of issuer clients.
Results of this study cannot be generalized beyond public accounting firms with 100 or fewer issuer clients. In addition, there is a possibility that other measurements of firm-level characteristics that impact the number of PCAOB-identified audit deficiencies were not captured in the study.
This study explains the association between audit firm characteristics and PCAOB-identified audit deficiencies. Our results caution small audit firms about not having enough professional staff, low human capital leverage and serving too many issuer clients, as those factors may potentially impair audit quality.
This study helps to explain the relationship between audit deficiencies and controllable, measurable firm-level characteristics. It is, therefore, differentiated from previous studies, most of which were focused on PCAOB-identified audit deficiencies as measures of audit quality and stakeholder reactions to PCAOB reports.
Kang, F., Farag, M., Hurt, R. and Wyrick, C. (2014), "The association between PCAOB-identified audit deficiencies and small audit firms’ characteristics: Evidence from PCAOB inspection reports", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 717-735. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-12-2013-0975Download as .RIS
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