How Effective is Internal Control Reporting Under SOX 404? Determinants of the (Non-)Disclosure of Existing Material Weaknesses
Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 50 No. 3, June 2012
45 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2011 Last revised: 7 Jan 2013
Date Written: November 2, 2011
We study determinants of internal control reporting decisions during the SOX 404 era using a sample of restating firms whose original misstatements are linked to underlying control weaknesses. We find that only a minority of these firms acknowledge their existing control weaknesses during their misstatement periods, and that this proportion has declined over time. Further, the probability of reporting existing weaknesses is negatively associated with external capital needs, firm size, non-audit fees, and the presence of a large audit firm; it is positively associated with financial distress, auditor effort, previously reported control weaknesses and restatements, and recent auditor and management changes. These results provide evidence that detection and disclosure incentives play a role in whether existing material weaknesses are reported, which has implications for the effectiveness of SOX 404 in providing investors with advance warning of potential accounting problems.
Keywords: Internal control reporting, SOX 404, restatements
JEL Classification: M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation