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Auditor tenure and audit quality: an investigation of moderating factors prior to the commencement of mandatory rotations in India

Nemiraja Jadiyappa (Indian Institute of Management Raipur, Raipur, India)
L. Emily Hickman (Orfalea College of Business, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, USA)
Ram Kumar Kakani (Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, Kozhikode, India)
Qambar Abidi (Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, Kozhikode, India)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 3 August 2021

Issue publication date: 10 August 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The Indian Companies Act 2013 mandated auditor rotations in the financial year 2018–2019. Similar regulations are being considered in many countries, based on the assumption that longer tenure is detrimental to audit quality; yet, the evidence from investigations of this assumption is inconclusive. This paper aims to examine the effect of moderating factors on the relation between audit quality and audit tenure, given the regulatory trend and the lack of consensus in extant literature.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines the relationship between audit quality and audit tenure among Indian firms from 2001 to 2015 and tests for moderating factors including auditor compensation, business group affiliation and chief executive officer (CEO) duality.

Findings

Contrary to the objective of mandatory rotations, this study finds that longer auditor tenure generally enhanced audit quality among Indian firms prior to mandatory rotations. However, for companies paying abnormally high compensation to auditors, this paper finds that longer tenure decreases audit quality, particularly if the firm is affiliated with a business group or firms where the CEO also serves as the board chair. Thus, the potential benefits of mandated shorter tenure appear to be confined to high-fee paying companies with a business group affiliation and/or a dual-role CEO.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to examine conditioning factors that affect the relationship between audit quality and auditor tenure. Results suggest that regulations limiting auditor tenure would be beneficial only to the shareholders of a narrow group of firms; while for the majority of firms, limiting auditor tenure may actually be counter-productive.

Keywords

Citation

Jadiyappa, N., Hickman, L.E., Kakani, R.K. and Abidi, Q. (2021), "Auditor tenure and audit quality: an investigation of moderating factors prior to the commencement of mandatory rotations in India", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 724-743. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-12-2020-2957

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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