The Impact of the Spanish Financial Act (44|2002) on Audit Quality
Revista Española de Financiación y Contabilidad (REFC)/ Spanish Journal of Finance and Accounting, Forthcoming
45 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2012 Last revised: 7 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 24, 2012
This study examines the impact of the Financial Act 44|2002 (FA henceforth) on audit quality in Spain. Our goal is to provide empirical evidence on whether the audit reforms recommended by the EU and introduced under the FA actually result in higher audit quality. These audit reforms introduce rules and actions to reinforce auditor independence and competence and thus, incentivise audit quality. The public oversight body for the audit profession (the Institute of Accounting and Auditing- ICAC) and the main professional audit body (the Spanish Institute of Chartered Accountants- ICJCE) maintain the view that the changes ensure and increase audit quality [Fernández and Combarros 2002; Atarés and Canales 2004]. However there is no empirical evidence to support this argument. We empirically test the effect of the FA on audit quality by assessing the ability of auditors to constrain opportunistic earnings management practices. We use data from Spanish companies for the pre- and post-FA periods 2000-2001 and 2003-2004 respectively. The study shows that audit quality has increased after the FA. These results support European recommendations on questions regarding audit regulation.
Keywords: audit quality, earnings management, audit reforms, Financial Act 44|2002
JEL Classification: M40, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation