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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Kym Butcher, Graeme Harrison, Jill McKinnon and Philip Ross

The purpose of this paper is to examine what auditor and audit environmental attributes affect auditor appointment decisions in compulsory audit tendering, and whether the…

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4525

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine what auditor and audit environmental attributes affect auditor appointment decisions in compulsory audit tendering, and whether the attributes affecting appointment of a new auditor (rotation) are consistent with or different from those affecting reappointment of the incumbent (retention).

Design/methodology/approach

New South Wales (NSW) local council finance managers were surveyed for importance ratings of 48 attributes. An hypothesis for differential ratings between rotators and retainers was formulated. Confirmatory factor analysis, tests of mean differences and logistic regression were used.

Findings

Consistent with the sample's high retention rate, the most important attributes for all respondents related to the quality of previous experience with the incumbent. Consistent with hypothesis, attributes proxying for a quality auditor (technical competence, independence and reputation) were more important for rotators.

Research limitations/implications

The authors proxied rotation/retention by intention. Given the importance of audit quality attributes in the appointment decision and the high retention rate in compulsory audit tendering, future research could examine the relation between audit service quality attributes and retention.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine attributes affecting auditor appointment decisions in a mandatory choice setting. NSW local councils provide a unique opportunity to do so as it is one of few jurisdictions in which compulsory audit tendering operates. Compulsory tendering may be implemented if current legislation aimed at improving audit independence and quality through mandatory partner rotation proves infeasible.

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Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Fengchun Tang, Lijun Ruan and Ling Yang

The practice of management having control over auditor appointment and compensation is believed to be a fundamental cause for the lack of auditor independence. While…

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1130

Abstract

Purpose

The practice of management having control over auditor appointment and compensation is believed to be a fundamental cause for the lack of auditor independence. While researchers propose alternative auditor appointment procedures to improve auditor independence, there are a few settings that allow researchers to examine alternative auditor appointment procedures such as regulator designation of auditors. This research aims to investigate the effects of regulator designation of auditors and litigation risk on auditor independence in a Chinese setting

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopts a 2 × 2 between-subjects experimental design. A total of 110 surveys were sent out and 81 were collected from eastern China.

Findings

The results of an experiment with 81 Chinese auditors indicate that regulator designation of auditors improves auditor independence. In particular, auditors designated by the regulator feel less pressure from the audited company, perceive themselves to be more independent and are more willing to challenge the audited company’s aggressive financial reporting compared with those directly hired by the company. In addition, litigation risk moderates the effect of regulator designation of auditors on auditor independence such that regulator designation of auditors has a stronger impact on auditor independence when the litigation risk is low.

Research limitations/implications

This study is also subject to limitations. First, regulator designation of auditors in China was examined. While regulator designation of auditors seems to improve auditor independence in the Chinese context, it is unclear if the same results will be observed in other economies, as China is a unique setting. For example, the majority of listed companies in China are under the control of government-related agencies. Consequently, the government has significant power in influencing auditor appointment policy. In contrast, the majority of other economies are more market-oriented with less government influence. Future studies in other markets will further enrich the understanding on regulator designation of auditors. Second, only regulator designation of auditors for state-owned enterprises was examined. It is unclear how regulator designation of auditors would affect non-state-owned enterprises. Moreover, future research could investigate the designation of auditors in other forms such as the designation of auditors by investors. Third, auditor appointment procedure may affect perceived risk of loss of client which in turn influences auditor independence. Future research could further investigate the mechanism through which regulator designation of auditors affect auditor independence.

Originality/value

Results of an experiment with 81 Chinese auditors show that regulator designation of auditors can improve auditor independence. In a decision context where auditors must provide judgments relating to a proposed audit adjustment that is quantitatively material and will affect the client’s ability to meet debt covenants, auditors designated by the State-Owned Assets Management Bureaus are more resistant to management pressure and are less willing to accept the management’s aggressive financial reporting practice than those directly hired by the company.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Vivien Beattie and Stella Fearnley

Competitive pressures in the audit market have led to aggressive fee renegotiation and tendering by companies. This paper reviews microeconomic tender theory and finds it…

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4323

Abstract

Competitive pressures in the audit market have led to aggressive fee renegotiation and tendering by companies. This paper reviews microeconomic tender theory and finds it to be of limited value in the audit context. Content analysis of semi‐structured interviews conducted with the finance directors of 12 UK listed companies which had recently tendered and/or changed auditor are used to investigate the tender/change process. Contrary to popular belief, fee levels do not necessarily dominate the decision to change auditors, rather changes within the client company, audit staffing, and auditor’s professionalism and competency issues dominate. Nor is the selection of a tender “winner” generally based solely on price, as predicted by tender theory and as would be expected when the consequences of audit failure do not fall on the directors. However, consistent with economic theory, the winning bid appears frequently to be too low, resulting in attempts by auditors to subsequently increase fees and resentment by the finance director. Directors generally appear to view the audit tender as relating to not only the attest function per se, but to a larger package of services concerning the financial reporting function. The relative importance of price versus non‐price competition in auditor choice is found to vary across companies. Auditor choice is influenced strongly by both economic and behavioural factors, in particular, by directors’ assessment of the quality of non‐attest services and the expected quality of working relationships, in addition to price and audit quality.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Noor Adwa Sulaiman

The purpose of this paper is to examine the conduct of the audit committee (AC) in terms of its oversight role of audit quality in the UK.

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1041

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the conduct of the audit committee (AC) in terms of its oversight role of audit quality in the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses semi-structured interviews with 11 AC members and 11 audit partners.

Findings

The findings show that the conduct of the AC in relation to audit quality involves the assessment of the contents of the reports prepared by the external auditors for the AC. Furthermore, the oversight of audit quality by the AC involves a thorough assessment of the presentation of the external auditors during the interaction and communication between the two parties. This illustrates the AC’s role as an effective monitoring mechanism when overseeing the audit quality. However, the conduct of the AC in overseeing four major areas (independence, appointment, remuneration and effectiveness of audit process) related to audit quality, as recommended by the UK Code of Corporate Governance, provides mixed results. The findings highlight the ceremonial role of the AC in those areas, which demonstrates the limited supporting role of the AC in enhancing audit quality. Furthermore, it is suggested that the effectiveness of the oversight role is influenced by the quality of the chairman of the AC and the quality of the relationship between the AC and the external auditors.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the existing literature by providing additional insights into the conduct of the AC in overseeing audit quality as well as additional evidence concerning the role and effect of the AC in relation to audit quality as prescribed by the UK Code of Corporate Governance.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

Mohd Mohid Rahmat, Siti Hajar Asmah Ali and Norman Mohd Saleh

This study aims to examine the effect of the auditor-client relationship (ACR) on related party transaction (RPT) types of disclosure, either RPT-efficient or…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the effect of the auditor-client relationship (ACR) on related party transaction (RPT) types of disclosure, either RPT-efficient or RPT-conflict. This study also examines whether family controlling shareholders (FCS) negatively affect the ACR in RPT types of disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses multivariate regression on 2,203 year-observations of companies listed in Malaysia during the period 2014–2017.

Findings

This study finds weak evidence that auditors can mitigate companies’ RPT type (RPT-efficient and RPT-conflict) disclosure while maintaining a close ACR. However, an interaction between FCS and ACR reduces the RPT-conflict disclosure. Additionally, the Big 4 auditors slightly increase the RPT-conflict disclosure, however, the relationships are inversed if the close ACR involves the FCS. The Big 4 auditors also increase RPT-efficient disclosure although in a close ACR with FCS. Meanwhile, an interaction between non-Big 4 auditors and FCS in close ACR reduces both types of RPT disclosures.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that a close relationship between auditors and clients in firms with significant family control could compromise auditor’s skepticism. The FCS can easily influence the auditors to agree with the ways they treat the RPT disclosure. Therefore, policymakers may have to revisit auditors’ rotation policies in Malaysia, especially those involving FCS.

Originality/value

Trust, familiarity and future fee dependency are significant threats to auditor independence in a close ACR. This study contributes to the literature by examining the effect of a close ACR on RPT types of disclosure from a network theory perspective.

Abstract

Details

Quality Control Procedure for Statutory Financial Audit
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-226-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Vivien Beattie, Richard Brandt and Stella Fearnley

The audit function is an essential part of the regulatory structure which supports the integrity of our capital markets. There is a recognised expectations gap which…

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1082

Abstract

The audit function is an essential part of the regulatory structure which supports the integrity of our capital markets. There is a recognised expectations gap which surrounds the audit function, as many users of audited financial statements have different expectations of the audit function from what it delivers. Perceptions of auditor independence are a fundamental part of this expectations gap. In the light of recent significant changes to the regulatory framework, this paper reports a survey of leading financial journalists, to ascertain their current views on auditor independence. Findings show a belief that some of the changes have reduced the expectations gap although problems still exist in the area of non‐audit services. However, the most significant threat to independence is seen to be the economic and personal pressure on the partner as an individual, an area difficult to regulate. The challenge for audit firms is to demonstrate how well they control for this within their management structures.

Details

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1358-1988

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2011

Jasim Al‐Ajmi and Shahrokh Saudagaran

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceptions of auditor independence between auditors, bank‐loan officers, and financial analysts in Bahrain.

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5184

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceptions of auditor independence between auditors, bank‐loan officers, and financial analysts in Bahrain.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines the effect of 41 independence‐enhancing and – threatening Factors on the perceptions of auditor, bank‐loan officers, and financial analysts regarding auditor independence in Bahrain. Out of 450 questionnaires distributed, 281 usable responses were received, representing a response rate of 62.4 percent.

Findings

Overall, the three groups agree on the classification of the 41 factors into two groups; however, they do not agree on the relative importance of those factors on their perception of auditor independence. Economic reliance of auditors on their clients and the provisions of non‐audit service, competition, and long tenure of audit services are considered the most important independence‐threatening factors. The risks posed to auditors in fulfilling their audit engagement, regulatory rights and requirements surrounding auditor change, regulation concerning the appointment/remuneration of auditors, and the disclosure of financial and nonfinancial relationships are among the most important factors that are perceived by the three groups to enhance auditor independence.

Research limitations/implications

The samples did not include all users of financial statements; the samples were drawn only from institutions that were willing to take part, and consequently the results might not be applicable to those that did not take part in the study; and data were collected using a survey questionnaire and this approach is subject to certain types of bias such as response bias, which may affect the reliability of the respondents' answers.

Practical implications

The paper can inform policy makers, governments, and professional accounting bodies in emerging markets in countries that share similar economic, political, and cultural environment on how policies and frameworks related to auditor independence can be structured to ensure adequate regulation of the capital market, and enhance the awareness of users and auditors about the contextual factors surrounding the role of an auditor, in addition to the possible threats and enhancing factors that affect auditor independence.

Originality/value

The paper offers rich data on the perceptions of auditors' independence of auditors and users of financial statements. This is the first time, this type of research has been conducted in Bahrain.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2020

Michael Harber and Warren Maroun

This study aims to address an acknowledged gap in the literature for the analysis of experienced practitioner views on the effects and implications of mandatory audit firm…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to address an acknowledged gap in the literature for the analysis of experienced practitioner views on the effects and implications of mandatory audit firm rotation (MAFR).

Design/methodology/approach

Using an exploratory and sequential design, data was collected from South African regulatory policy documents, organisational comment letters and semi-structured interviews of practitioners. These findings informed a field survey, administered to auditors, investors, chief financial officers (CFOs) and audit committee members of Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed companies.

Findings

Practitioners expressed considerable pushback against the potential efficacy of MAFR to improve audit quality due to various “switching costs”, notably the loss of client-specific knowledge and expertise upon rotation. In addition, the cost and disruption to both the client and audit firm are considered significant and unnecessary, compared to audit partner rotation. The audit industry may suffer reduced profitability and increased strain on partners, leading to a decline in the appeal of the profession as a career of choice. This is likely to have negative implications for audit industry diversity objectives. Furthermore, the industry may become more supplier-concentrated amongst the Big 4 firms.

Practical implications

The findings have policy implications for regulators deciding whether to adopt the regulation, as well as guiding the design of policies and procedures to mitigate the negative effects of adoption.

Originality/value

The participants are experienced with diverse roles concerning the use, preparation and audit of financial statements of large exchange-listed multinational companies, as well as engagement in the auditor appointment process. The extant literature presents mixed results on the link between MAFR and audit quality, with most studies relying on archival and experimental designs. These have a limited ability to identify and critique the potential’s witching costs and unintended consequences of the regulation. Experienced participants responsible for decision-making within the audit, audit oversight and auditor appointment process, are best suited to provide perspective on these effects, contrasted against the audit regulator’s position.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 35 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2002

Ruth Kiraka, Colin Clark and Michael De Martinis

Supreme audit institutions, such as the auditors‐general, are considered a crucial link in the accountability chain between parliament and the executive arm of government…

Abstract

Supreme audit institutions, such as the auditors‐general, are considered a crucial link in the accountability chain between parliament and the executive arm of government. The purpose of this study is to examine the enabling legislation of the supreme audit institutions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries from a public sector accountability and independence perspective. Following on from INTOSAI (1998), English and Guthrie (2000) and De Martinis and Clark (2001), this study uses an accountability and independence framework to identify and compare the current legislation applicable to the supreme audit institutions of the ASEAN member countries with regard to independence, autonomy, mandate, funding issues, and related parliamentary powers. This study finds that while on average each jurisdiction has addressed slightly less than half the total number of issues under examination, there is considerable diversity with regard to the particular issues addressed. The study suggests policy implications to further strengthen the provisions for accountability and independence of supreme audit institutions through amendments to the enabling legislation of the various jurisdictions.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

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