Re-Evaluating the Effectiveness of Auditing Standard No. 2: Longitudinal Analysis of Restatements and the Outcome of Auditor Litigation in Lawsuits Filed from 1996 to 2009
Corporate Ownership and Control, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 300-315, 2014
16 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2014
Date Written: January 24, 2014
We provide evidence of the impact of Auditing Standard No. 2 (“AS 2”), issued pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SarBox”), on the outcome of auditors in financial reporting litigation. Specifically, we focus on the existence of financial restatements and how and why they affected the outcome of the auditor in the financial reporting lawsuits. Our longitudinal method subjected to year-by-year regression analysis 2,059 financial reporting lawsuits filed from 1996 to 2009. Our results indicate that restatements are positively associated with more severe outcomes for the auditor in lawsuits filed in 2002 and in the years after 2004. However, restatements are not significant in lawsuits filed in 2003 and 2004. Pressure from SarBox Section 906 criminal penalties and Section 302 requirements to disclose material weaknesses, coupled with a lack of guidance to distinguish material weaknesses from significant deficiencies, temporarily and indirectly caused the issuance of a large number of restatements that were not material or comprehensible to participants in the legal system. Thus, they were temporarily unable to use the restatements to inform their litigation behavior. However, after the June 17, 2004, release of AS 2, participants in the legal system were again able to use the restatements to inform their behavior. This suggests that AS 2, notwithstanding its inefficiency, necessitating its subsequent superseding by Auditing Standard No. 5 (“AS 5”), increased audit effectiveness and financial reporting quality by facilitating more accurate identification of material weaknesses.
Keywords: Auditing standard no. 2; Restatements; Securities class actions; Auditors
JEL Classification: K22; K41; L15; M40; M41; M49; G14; O16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation