Does the Timing of Auditor Changes Affect Audit Quality? Evidence from the Initial Year of the Audit Engagement
53 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2014 Last revised: 23 May 2017
Date Written: September 1, 2016
We focus on the first year of the auditor-client relationship and investigate whether audit quality varies with the timing of the new auditor’s appointment. We find that audit quality is not lower for companies that engage new auditors before the end of the third fiscal quarter than for companies that do not change auditors. However, companies that engage new auditors during or after the fourth fiscal quarter are more likely to misstate their audited financial statements than companies that engage new auditors earlier in the year and companies that do not change auditors. In additional tests, we find that the decrease in audit quality associated with late auditor changes is more pronounced for companies with complex operations (i.e., more operating segments). These results suggest that the extent to which audit quality suffers in the first year of audit engagements is affected by both the amount of time required to understand the client’s business, assess risks, and perform the audit (all of which are driven by client complexity), as well as the amount of time available for auditors to perform these tasks.
Keywords: audit quality; auditor changes; misstatements; auditor independence
JEL Classification: M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation