This paper studies the audit fee structure in Hong Kong. By analysing data concerning a number of variables representing auditee size, auditee risk, complexity of audit, auditor identity, and the timing of audit, we develop a model of the determinants of audit fees which is applicable to the unique environment in Hong Kong. Using a more recent time period of 1992 and 1993, this study strongly confirms that most of the previous research findings are also applicable to the Hong Kong audit service market. We provide additional evidence relating to variables such as the Big Six (previously Big Eight) effects, auditee risk and auditee complexity which have been found to have inconclusive associations with the level of audit fees in previous research. Specifically, auditee size appears to have been the main determinant of audit fees, and the size measure is two‐dimensional, both asset and turnover respectively add explanatory power to that provided by each other. Complexity of audit adds significantly to the cost of audit. There is also evidence of Big Six effects and low‐balling. In addition, some evidence is found for the effects of auditee risk on audit fees. Finally, a longer audit delay, which reflects the possibility of inefficient audit time spent, entails higher audit fees. Future research should consider the importance of other issues such as non‐audit services and the extent of market concentration.
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