Audit Fees after Remediation of Internal Control Weaknesses
Posted: 4 Oct 2010
Date Written: September 1, 2010
In this study we examine audit fees for SEC registrants that remediate previously disclosed material weaknesses in internal control. We find that remediating firms have lower audit fees when compared to firms that continue to report material weaknesses in internal control. However, the remediating firms continue to pay, in the year of remediation as well as one and two years subsequent to remediation, a significant audit fee premium compared to firms that have clean Section 404 reports in each of the first four years. Firms that had an adverse Section 404 report only in the first year but remediated the problems in year two and had clean Section 404 reports in years three and four pay an audit fee premium of 32 (21) percent in the third (fourth) year when compared to firms that had clean Section 404 reports in each of the first four years. The results thus suggest that audit fees are “sticky” for firms that have material weaknesses in internal controls over financial reporting, and suggest some interesting questions for future research.
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