Auditor-Provided Lobbying Service and Audit Quality
54 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2011 Last revised: 16 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 15, 2014
Regulators and the public are concerned about accounting firms lobbying politicians on behalf of their own audit clients because it could impair auditor independence. In this study, we examine whether these lobbying activities by accounting firms are associated with their clients’ audit quality. Since required disclosures of lobbying activities are limited, we construct a novel proxy to capture auditor lobbying on behalf of audit clients. Using this proxy, we find that perceived audit quality is negatively related to lobbying. However, we fail to find that actual audit quality is lower for these clients. Our findings suggest that investors perceive auditors’ lobbying for clients’ political interests as harmful to audit quality but that these concerns do not appear to materialize in the outcome of the audit process. This evidence suggests that reputation concerns and litigation risk may provide enough discipline for auditors to maintain independence.
Keywords: lobbying, advocacy threat, auditor independence
JEL Classification: M4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation