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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2021

Qiliang Liu, Lei Zhao, Li Tian and Jian Xie

This paper aims to investigate whether close auditor-client relationships affect audit quality over the tenure of the audit partner and the potential role of partner

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate whether close auditor-client relationships affect audit quality over the tenure of the audit partner and the potential role of partner rotation in mitigating this effect.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the Chinese mandatory audit partner rotation setting, the authors identify the existence of a close auditor-client relationship if the audit partner tenure with a client is larger than the audit firm tenure with that client. The sample period (1998–2009) is divided into voluntary and mandatory rotation periods when examining the effects of audit partner tenure on audit quality for the normal and close auditor-client relationship subsamples, respectively. The authors also conduct a propensity score matching analysis to address a selection issue.

Findings

The paper finds that under the voluntary partner rotation regime, audit quality decreases with audit partner tenure for the subsample with close auditor-client relationships, whereas this effect is not shown in the normal relationship subsample. However, audit quality no longer declines with audit partner tenure under the mandatory partner rotation regime.

Originality/value

This is the first study that directly examines the effect of audit partner tenure on audit quality associated with close auditor-client relationships under the voluntary and mandatory partner rotation regimes.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 36 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 28 March 2018

Wan Nordin Wan Hussin, Hasan Mohamad Bamahros and Siti Norwahida Shukeri

Motivated by a recent call from DeFond and Zhang (2014) for auditing scholars to use “a richer set of audit firm, auditor office, and individual auditor characteristics to…

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1359

Abstract

Purpose

Motivated by a recent call from DeFond and Zhang (2014) for auditing scholars to use “a richer set of audit firm, auditor office, and individual auditor characteristics to capture competency”, this study aims to extend the related line of research by examining the association between lead engagement partner workload, defined as the number of public listed clients the partner is in charge of, and audit lag. The moderating effects of partner tenure on the partner workload–audit lag relationship have also been examined.

Design/methodology/approach

The association between auditor workload and financial reporting timeliness on 651 non-financial firms listed on Bursa Malaysia is tested in this study. Data to compute the partner workload are based on 222 lead engagement partners who signed off the audit reports for all 892 public listed firms in 2013.

Findings

The busy auditors are observed to prolong audit lags, and the effect is more acute for non-Big 4 clients, busy season clients and a short partner tenure. The engagement partners with heavy workload can also mitigate the adverse effects of reduced audit report timeliness when they have a longer partner–client tenure.

Research limitations/implications

This study may understate the level of engagement partner workload when partners have private firms in their client portfolios. Notwithstanding that, this study reiterates the growing importance of examining accounting and auditing outcomes at the individual partner level.

Practical implications

The findings that over-burdened engagement partner takes a longer time to complete the audit add to the current debate, where audit regulators and various stakeholders are actively promoting discussions on potential indicators of audit efficiency and quality.

Originality/value

This study provides new evidence on the association between partner workload and audit reporting lag, which has hitherto been unexplored. This study also extends the research carried out by Gul et al. (2017) and Sharma et al. (2017) by providing additional evidence on the relationship between partner tenure and audit delay.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2008

Neil Fargher, Ho‐Young Lee and Vivek Mande

This paper aims to examine the effect of audit partner tenure (PARTEN) on client managers' accounting discretion.

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3423

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the effect of audit partner tenure (PARTEN) on client managers' accounting discretion.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors contend that, when a new audit partner is from the same audit firm as the outgoing audit partner (audit partner rotation), audit quality increases because the new audit partner brings “fresh eyes” to the engagement.

Findings

The results confirm this conjecture. The authors find that, in the initial years of tenure of a new audit partner, client managers' accounting discretion decreases when the new partner is from the same audit firm as the outgoing partner. However, when the new audit partner is from a different audit firm as the outgoing partner (audit firm rotation), it is found that client managers' accounting discretion increases in those initial years.

Originality/value

The results provide support for recent legislation in the US restricting audit PARTEN and should be of interest to other regulatory bodies contemplating mandatory audit partner rotation.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2020

Nancy Chun Feng

Using a sample of US nonprofit organizations, where the identity of the auditor in charge of the audit is revealed, I investigate whether individual auditor…

Abstract

Purpose

Using a sample of US nonprofit organizations, where the identity of the auditor in charge of the audit is revealed, I investigate whether individual auditor characteristics (gender, engagement size and tenure) are associated with audit quality.

Design/methodology/approach

To investigate how individual audit partner characteristics affect audit quality, I follow Petrovits et al. (2011) and Fitzgerald et al. (2018) who investigate client characteristics and partner tenure as determinants of ICDs in nonprofits. I add three characteristics of the auditor in charge – gender, engagement size and tenure – to their models. In additional analyses, I use subsamples partitioned by client risk and audit firm size, and find that individual auditor characteristics generally play a more significant role in the issuance of ICDs and QAOs for riskier clients than for less risky clients.

Findings

My results show that female auditors are more likely to report internal control deficiencies and issue qualified audit opinions (QAOs) to nonprofits. I also find that auditors with more Single Audit engagements within the same year are less likely to report ICDs. In addition, auditor tenure is negatively associated with the likelihood of issuing an ICD report, suggesting that auditors become complacent as the length of the auditor–client relationship lengthens or, alternatively, that they are better able to assist their clients in correcting ICDs and in maintaining stronger internal control environments as they gain client-specific knowledge over time. Additional analysis suggests tenure and engagement load results are sensitive to the sample specification employed.

Research limitations/implications

One caveat of this study is that self-selection bias may be present when a client chooses an audit firm, the audit firm selects a client, and the audit firm assigns a partner to the engagement. Future study with more advanced econometric models is needed to mitigate self-selection bias. Another limitation is that my sample consists of nonprofit organizations and may not be generalizable to for-profit firms. Another caveat of this study is that the tenure variable is truncated compared to prior literature (e.g. Fitzgerald et al., 2018). Also given the rarity of audit quality measures in the nonprofit setting, internal control deficiencies and qualified opinions are used as proxies for audit quality because they reflect both the quality of audit work and the quality of organizations' internal control and financial reporting. Future studies with data including additional audit quality measures could shed more light on the topic.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature in several ways. First, this study offers a more comprehensive examination on the impact that a broader set of individual auditor characteristics on audit quality in the nonprofit setting, compared to Fitzgerald et al.'s (2018) study. Second, the findings should be of interest to policymakers who recently mandated engagement partner disclosures from US audit firms (PCAOB, 2015b). Finally, another distinctive feature of this study is that I examine the impact of individual auditor characteristics on audit quality in a setting where Big 4 audit firms are not dominant.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

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Article
Publication date: 24 October 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…

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1400

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

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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: 1 March 2011

Rana Ahmad Baker and Ali Al‐Thuneibat

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relation between audit firm tenure and the perceived audit quality measured by the client‐specific equity risk premium. The…

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1493

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relation between audit firm tenure and the perceived audit quality measured by the client‐specific equity risk premium. The study population consists of all the manufacturing and service firms traded in Amman Bourse during the period 2002‐2005.

Design/methodology/approach

The Boone et al. model – with some modifications – was used for testing the hypotheses.

Findings

The results show that the relation between audit firm tenure and equity risk premium is positive, the equity risk premium increases with tenure as a result of reduced audit quality. These results were consistent with some previous studies, which showed that long relationships between an audit firm and a client are associated with lower perceived audit quality and, as a result, higher equity risk premium.

Practical implications

The audit firm should be rotated in order to enhance auditor independence and audit quality, and increase investors' confidence in reported earnings. Additionally, investors are encouraged to give higher attention to the tenure of the audit firm when evaluating the quality of the financial reports of the companies they are planning to invest in.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to provide evidence from a developing country about an important issue – audit quality – which is expected to support and sustain improvement of audit quality, and therefore, financial reporting quality.

Details

International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1834-7649

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2019

Mahdi Salehi, Mohamad Reza Fakhri Mahmoudi and Ali Daemi Gah

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a deeper understanding about the reasons behind difference in previous studies’ results in the field of audit quality determinants.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a deeper understanding about the reasons behind difference in previous studies’ results in the field of audit quality determinants.

Design/methodology/approach

A meta-analysis method is employed in which 52 studies including 40 international studies from authentic scientific articles during the year 2000–2015 and 12 national studies out of authentic national scientific articles from 2001 to 2015 are taken to account as sample studies. Audit firm size, auditor tenure and auditor specialization are set as independent variables and audit quality is the only dependent variable in the current paper.

Findings

The results indicate that audit firm size and auditor specialization are positively associated with audit quality. In other words, contracting with larger audit firm and specialized auditor results in delivering higher quality audit services.

Originality/value

The current study is the first study to be conducted in the field of audit quality determinants. The results may be beneficial both for standard setters as well practitioners in a way that it provides evidence that contributes to basis policy and audit-standard makers about domination and determinants of audit quality.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2018

Mark Kohlbeck, Jomo Sankara and Errol G. Stewart

This paper aims to examine whether external monitors (auditors and analysts) constrain earnings strings, an indicator of earnings management, and whether this monitoring…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine whether external monitors (auditors and analysts) constrain earnings strings, an indicator of earnings management, and whether this monitoring is more effective after the implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), given the emphasis of SOX on improving auditing, financial reporting and the information environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Agency theory establishes the premise between external monitoring and earnings strings. Auditor tenure and number of analysts following provide measures for external monitoring quality. Using prior research, empirical models explaining the presence of an earnings strings and earnings strings trend are developed to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Pre-SOX, extreme auditor tenure, indicating lower quality external monitoring, is associated with greater earnings strings trend, and analyst coverage is associated with increased likelihood of earnings strings and greater earnings strings trend consistent with analyst pressure on management. More effective auditor and analyst monitoring occurs post-SOX in terms of reduced likelihood of earnings strings and earnings strings trend.

Originality/value

The authors provide evidence on how elements of external monitoring are associated with increased earnings strings pre-SOX. Further, they contribute to the debate on the impact of SOX on external firm monitoring and the overall financial information environment. By focusing on earnings strings, the outcome of earnings management, the authors provide a unique understanding of external monitoring that also provides insight on the overvaluation of equity and ultimate destruction of firm value. The evidence demonstrates how regulation has contributed to an improved financial reporting environment and external monitoring.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Khairul Anuar Kamarudin, Wan Adibah Wan Ismail and Akmalia M. Ariff

This study aims to investigate whether auditor tenure has a significant influence on accounting quality and whether investor protection moderates the effect of auditor…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate whether auditor tenure has a significant influence on accounting quality and whether investor protection moderates the effect of auditor tenure on accounting quality.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses weighted least squares regression on a sample of 77,855 firm-year observations from 36 countries during the period 2010–2016. This study uses the absolute value of performance-matched discretionary accruals to measure financial reporting quality.

Findings

This study finds that a longer auditor tenure is associated with higher accounting quality, thus supporting the knowledge effect arguments. The results on the joint effect of investor protection and auditor tenure show evidence of the substitutive effect of investor protection, where the positive impact of auditor tenure on accounting quality is weaker in a high investor-protection environment.

Practical implications

These findings provide input for policy implications involving the auditing profession. Regulators may need to weigh the costs and benefits of mandatory audit rotation because country-level institutional factors influence auditing regulations and practices, as well as the auditors’ behaviors.

Originality/value

This study adds to the limited, albeit important, evidence on the joint effect of auditor tenure and country-level governance on accounting quality. The authors respond to the call by Brooks et al. (2017) for more evidence on the role of audits on financial reporting outcomes across various legal institutions for creating effective policies.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

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