Audit Firm Tenure and Financial Restatements: An Analysis of Industry Specialization and Fee Effects
Posted: 14 Jul 2008
Date Written: March 1, 2007
This study investigates the relation between audit firm tenure and clients' financial restatements. Specifically, we extend the audit tenure literature by assessing restatement-based reporting failures using dimensions of auditor expertise and independence previously assumed to underlie short and long audit tenure problems. Short tenure expertise and independence effects are hypothesized using audit firm industry specialization and audit fees as proxies. Long tenure independence effects are hypothesized using nonaudit fees as a proxy. Using matched-sample logistic regression and 382 companies with and without financial restatements during 2000-2004, the results support prior findings by indicating a negative relation between the length of the auditor-client relationship and the likelihood of restatement. For short tenure engagements, we find that auditor industry specialization and audit fees are negatively related to the likelihood of restatement. This result is consistent with concerns about reduced audit quality due to a lack of client-specific knowledge and low audit fees on new audit engagements. Alternatively, the long tenure results indicate an insignificant relation between nonaudit fees and the likelihood of restatement. This finding contradicts independence concerns about nonaudit fees paid to entrenched auditors.
Keywords: Audit tenure, Financial restatements, Industry specialization, Audit fees, Nonaudit fees
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