Evidence on Auditor Risk-Management Strategies Before and After the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
Jere R. Francis
University of Missouri at Columbia
Temple University - Department of Accounting
Asia Pacific Journal of Accounting and Economics, Vol. 9, No. 2, December 2002
This study provides evidence that auditors adopted risk-management policies in the early 1990's in order to reduce their exposure to legal liability. Specifically, there is evidence that their clienteles became less risky and evidence of more conservative auditor reporting policies by non-Big 6 auditors (but not by Big 6 auditors). The auditor's legal exposure was reduced under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and there is evidence that risk-management policies were relaxed after 1994, resulting in riskier clienteles and less conservative reporting strategies for both Big 6 and non-Big 6 auditors. The study is important in documenting that alternative legal liability regimes can affect auditor incentives and behavior.
Keywords: going concern reports, client screening, litigation risk, auditors' legal liability
JEL Classification: M41, M49, K22Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 3, 2002
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