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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Christie L. Comunale and Thomas R. Sexton

To explore the effects of mandatory auditor rotation and retention on the long‐term market shares of the accounting firms that audit the members of the Standard and Poor's…

Abstract

Purpose

To explore the effects of mandatory auditor rotation and retention on the long‐term market shares of the accounting firms that audit the members of the Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500.

Design/methodology/approach

A Markov model is constructed that depicts the movements of S&P 500 firms in the period 1995 to 1999 among Big 5 accounting firms. Auditor rotation and retention are reflected in the transition probabilities. The impacts of mandatory auditor rotation and retention policies are evaluated by examining the state probabilities after two, five, and nine years.

Findings

The paper finds that mandatory auditor rotation will have substantial effects on long‐term market shares, whereas mandatory auditor retention will have very small effects. It shows that a firm's ability to attract new clients, as opposed to retaining current clients, will be the primary factor in determining the firm's long‐term market share under mandatory auditor rotation.

Research limitations/implications

The paper assumes that S&P 500 firms will continue their reliance on Big 5 firms and that the estimated transition probabilities will remain stable over time.

Practical implications

Excessive market share concentration resulting from such policies should not be a concern of regulators. The paper conjectures that, under mandatory rotation, accounting firms will reallocate resources to attract new clients rather than retain existing clients. This may result in lower audit quality.

Originality/value

Interestingly, over the past 25 years, several bodies have considered mandatory auditor rotation and retention. Surprisingly, the authors have found no studies of the effects of mandatory auditor rotation and retention on audit market share.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Book part
Publication date: 4 September 2015

Jacqueline A. Burke and Hakyin Lee

Mandatory auditor firm rotation (mandatory rotation) has been a controversial issue in the United States for many decades. Mandatory rotation has been considered at…

Abstract

Mandatory auditor firm rotation (mandatory rotation) has been a controversial issue in the United States for many decades. Mandatory rotation has been considered at various times as a means of improving auditor independence. For example, in the United States, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has considered mandatory rotation as a solution to the independence problem (PCAOB, 2011) and the European Parliament approved legislation that will require mandatory rotation in the near future (Council of European Union, 2014). The concept of implementing a mandatory rotation policy has been encouraged by some constituents of audited financial statements and rejected by other constituents of audited financial statements. Although there are apparent pros and cons of such a policy, the developmental process of such a policy in this country has not necessarily been an open-democratic, objective process. Universal mandatory rotation may or may not be the ideal solution; however, an open-democratic, objective process is needed to facilitate the development of a solution that considers the needs of all major stakeholders of audited financial statements – not simply accounting firms and public companies, but also investors. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine key issues relating to mandatory rotation and to encourage and stimulate future research and ongoing dialogue regarding this issue, in spite of efforts by certain constituents to silence the issue. This paper provides an overview of the various reasons, including practical, theoretical, political, and self-motivated reasons, why a mandatory rotation policy has not been implemented in the United States in order to address the potential conflict of interest between the auditor and client. This paper will also discuss how some deliberations of mandatory rotation have been flawed. The paper concludes with a summary of key issues along with two approaches for regulators, policy makers, and academics to consider as ways to improve the process and address auditor independence. The authors are not advocating for any specific solution; however, we are advocating for a more objective, unified approach and for the dialogue regarding auditor rotation to continue.

Details

Sustainability and Governance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-654-6

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Nieves Carrera, Nieves Gómez‐Aguilar, Christopher Humphrey and Emiliano Ruiz‐Barbadillo

In recent international debates on auditing regulation, Spain has assumed a real prominence as a claimed practical example of where a policy of mandatory audit firm…

Abstract

Purpose

In recent international debates on auditing regulation, Spain has assumed a real prominence as a claimed practical example of where a policy of mandatory audit firm rotation did not work and was duly abolished. This study aims to provide an analysis of the implementation and subsequent removal of mandatory audit firm rotation in Spain in the 1990s.

Design/methodology/approach

This takes the form of historical analysis; the evidence in the paper derives from congressional hearings, financial newspapers and documents produced by the professional associations of auditors in Spain.

Findings

This paper demonstrates that at no stage was mandatory rotation of audit firms ever enforced on Spanish auditors. Further, the revision and subsequent removal of the Spanish law on mandatory audit firm rotation emerge as a rather politicized process, with no evident reference being made in the process of legislative reform to Spanish auditing experiences. The analysis also reveals that at the very time that Spain was being cited internationally for rejecting mandatory audit firm rotation, Spanish political parties and regulators were debating whether to “re‐introduce” such a regulation.

Originality/value

The clear implication of the paper is that considerable caution needs to be taken in today's international‐auditing arena, when analyzing the standpoints and claims made by professional associations and the evidence they provide to support their arguments for and against regulatory reform.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2013

Diana Mostafa Mohamed and Magda Hussien Habib

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the problem of the lack of auditor independence in the Egyptian context, how it might affect the audit quality, through assessing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the problem of the lack of auditor independence in the Egyptian context, how it might affect the audit quality, through assessing reasons behind the voluntary switching of auditors, whether this switch is in the side of improving audit quality or not and the suggestion of the mandatory auditor rotation as a solution to such a problem.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper's findings are based on a survey analysis. The survey is done through a questionnaire created by the researcher (author) from the literature and distributed among audit practitioners from the Big Four audit firms operating in Egypt.

Findings

The problem of lack of auditor independence exists in Egypt due to many reasons. The main reason is the poor structure of corporations of being closely held. It was also found that the voluntary switching of auditors are for purposes improving the quality; from these reasons is the search of more reputable auditors and timelier audit opinions. Finally auditor rotation was suggested by the practitioners in order to overcome the problems of lack of independence and that the mandatory firm rotation is suggested instead of the mandatory partner rotation.

Practical implications

The mandatory audit firm rotation in different countries had some positive effect on audit quality. The application of mandatory rotation in the Egyptian context where there the problem of the lack of auditor independence is really clear is suggested so as to overcome the consequences of the independence problem and improve the audit quality.

Originality/value

This research work tries to dig more into the Egyptian context as a developing country regarding the threats to the auditing professionals in terms of the causes that might be impairing their independence as well as assessing the applicability of the mandatory rotation practice in Egypt.

Details

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-7983

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Laura K. Rickett, Anastasia Maggina and Pervaiz Alam

This study aims to examine the relationship between auditor tenure and conservatism for firms in Greece. Greece not only has a high incidence of earnings management but is…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the relationship between auditor tenure and conservatism for firms in Greece. Greece not only has a high incidence of earnings management but is also required under the new European Commission (EC) regulation to comply with mandatory auditor rotation. Therefore, Greece is an ideal setting in which to study the association between auditor tenure and accounting conservatism.

Design/methodology/approach

Similar to Jenkins and Velury (2008), this paper uses Basu’s (1997) asymmetrical timeliness of earnings as a measure of conservatism. Following Li (2010), the regression is re-estimated for subsamples based on client importance as measured by the ranking of client sales among all clients audited by the firm.

Findings

In contrast to Li (2010), the results of this study, which used a sample of firms in Greece, indicate that conservatism decreases as the auditor–client relationship lengthens. Client importance does not appear to affect the relationship between auditor tenure and conservatism, as measured by asymmetric timeliness of earnings. However, when using the accrual–cash flow measure of conservatism (Ball and Shivakumar, 2005), it is found that auditor tenure is positively (negatively) associated with conservatism for less (more) important clients. The results suggest that longer auditor tenure may have a negative impact on audit quality in certain countries where accounting quality has been found to be poor. Therefore, the new EC regulation requiring mandatory auditor rotation may in fact improve audit quality for firms in Greece.

Research limitations/implications

This study’s sample consists of firms on the Athens Stock Exchange for the period of 1998-2011. This sample was purposely selected because of the unique conditions of rampant earnings management and low incentive in Greece for the auditors to exert effort to detect such practices. Moreover, Greece is subject to the new EC regulations requiring mandatory auditor rotation beginning in 2014. Future studies could examine this issue in alternate settings and over different time periods. Also, other cross-sectional variations among firms which affect the association between auditor–client tenure and audit quality may exist.

Practical implications

The findings are important to regulators such as the EC and indicate that Greece may be an appropriate setting in which to require mandatory auditor rotation. These results are also useful to auditors who wish to improve the audit quality and the public’s perception of their work.

Originality/value

Auditor tenure has been the subject of considerable debate, and regulators contend that long auditor tenure reduces audit quality. There may be a valid argument in favor of mandatory auditor rotation in countries particularly susceptible to low accounting quality due to issues such as rampant earnings management. Greece appears to be one such example, and this study provides support in favor of that argument by demonstrating that longer auditor tenure may lead to lower accounting quality in terms of conservatism. Therefore, the recent EC regulation may result in improved audit quality for firms in Greece.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 31 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 23 May 2008

Andrew B. Jackson, Michael Moldrich and Peter Roebuck

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect that a regime of mandatory audit firm rotation would have on audit quality.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect that a regime of mandatory audit firm rotation would have on audit quality.

Design/methodology/approach

Using two measures of audit quality, being the propensity to issue a going‐concern report and the level of discretionary accruals, the paper examines the switching patterns of clients in their current voluntary switching capacity, and the levels of audit quality.

Findings

The main finding is that audit quality increases with audit firm tenure, when proxied by the propensity to issue a going‐concern opinion, and is unaffected when proxied by the level of discretionary expenses. Given the additional costs associated with switching auditors, it is concluded that there are minimal, if any, benefits of mandatory audit firm rotation.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of this study is that only actual audit quality is examined. While the results suggest that actual audit quality is associated with the length of audit tenure, the perception of audit quality is not addressed, which may increase with audit firm rotation.

Originality/value

The results go against the move towards mandatory audit firm rotation, and suggest that other initiatives may need to be considered to address concerns about auditor independence and audit quality.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 23 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 12 July 2013

David S. Jenkins and Thomas E. Vermeer

The purpose of this paper is to provide a succinct overview of academic research that has examined audit firm rotation both in the USA and in other countries.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a succinct overview of academic research that has examined audit firm rotation both in the USA and in other countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors outline the unresolved nature of academic research on audit firm rotation, review recent literature, discuss why academics have been unable to resolve this issue and offer suggestions for improving subsequent research in the area.

Findings

Overall, the collective evidence is inconclusive at best; with earlier studies generally finding mixed results and more recent studies indicating that audit quality generally goes through two distinct phases during the auditor‐client relationship, the “auditor learning” and “auditor closeness” phases.

Originality/value

Given the importance of the issue, this article provides an overview of academic research that has examined audit firm rotation, discusses why academics have been unable to resolve this issue, and provides suggestions on how academics and practitioners can work together to enhance the quality of future research.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

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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

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Book part
Publication date: 27 June 2017

Jim Peterson

Abstract

Details

Count Down
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-700-3

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Article
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Devi Sulistyo Kalanjati, Damai Nasution, Karin Jonnergård and Soegeng Sutedjo

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between audit rotation – at the audit partner and audit firm level – and audit quality. As mentioned in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between audit rotation – at the audit partner and audit firm level – and audit quality. As mentioned in the literature, audit rotation has several benefits, and one of them is it can bring a fresh look to audit tasks and subsequently improve audit quality. Moreover, audit itself can help a client to improve its financial reporting. However, ineffective communication between predecessor and successor audit partners or audit firms, and pseudo-rotation can hamper that benefit.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses multivariate regression analysis to test its hypotheses. Using data from companies listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the sample consists of 688 company-year observations covering the period 2003–2016.

Findings

This study finds that the cumulative number of audit partner rotations is positively associated with audit quality, indicating that rotations at the audit partner level will enhance audit quality. Conversely, it finds that the cumulative number of audit firm rotations is negatively associated with audit quality.

Practical implications

The study’s findings may assist regulators in crafting standards regarding audit rotation. As the findings show, audit partner rotation will improve audit quality, but the audit firm rotation will decrease audit quality. As this study tries to explain the decreasing audit quality from audit firm rotation could be a consequence of ineffective communication or pseudo audit firm rotation. Regulators should try to tackle these problems.

Originality/value

Instead of using tenure as a proxy for a rotation, this study creates a new proxy named the cumulative number of audit partner and audit firm rotations to provide evidence on the benefits of audit rotation.

Details

Asian Review of Accounting, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1321-7348

Keywords

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