Evidence of Regulatory Noncompliance with SEC Disclosure Rules on Auditor Changes
Kenneth B. Schwartz
Billy S. Soo
THE ACCOUNTING REVIEW, Vol 71, No 4, October 1996
This paper identifies widespread noncompliance with SEC regulations requiring prompt disclosure of auditor changes and investigates whether late filers and their auditors simply lack SEC expertise or have other reasons to delay reporting the auditor change. Some direct evidence in support of a specific Big-6 "quality" differential is provided. Most notably, the time to file the Form 8-K and the frequency of late filings increase significantly when non-Big 6 auditors are involved. Additionally, shorter filing delays and gradually higher compliance rates are detected after 1989 when the SEC reduced the Form 8-K filing time and the AICPA instituted a requirement for auditors to notify the Commission independently when a change occurs. We also find that late filers are more likely to be smaller and financially distressed, and less likely to issue securities following the auditor change, suggesting that compliance is affected by factors other than competency.
JEL Classification: M40, M41, K22, M49
Date posted: September 25, 1996
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