The Voluntary Formation of an Audit Committee
34 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2012 Last revised: 15 Mar 2012
Date Written: January 6, 2012
Audit committees are increasingly viewed as a key element of good corporate governance. In some countries their formation is mandatory, and in others it is voluntary. In the Australian setting, only the largest listed companies are required to form an audit committee, although many smaller companies do so voluntarily. There are few regulations over smaller companies, and the operations of audit committees. In a jurisdiction which combines mandatory and voluntary regulatory regimes, this study examines the relative impact of the regimes on audit committee diligence, on corporate governance and on board decision-making. It finds that mandatory audit committees are more diligent than voluntary ones, in terms of meeting frequency, but trade-offs are made between meeting frequency and the use of a Big 4 auditor, and the board’s decision-making is not consistently better. There is evidence that voluntary audit committees are established for legitimacy.
Keywords: audit committee, corporate governance
JEL Classification: M42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation