Are Auditors Professionally Skeptical? Evidence from Auditors’ Going-Concern Opinions and Management Earnings Forecasts
35 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2014
Date Written: September 5, 2014
We examine whether auditors exercise professional skepticism about management earnings forecasts when making going-concern decisions. Using publicly issued management earnings forecasts as a proxy for earnings forecasts provided by managers to auditors, we find that management earnings forecasts are negatively associated with both auditors’ going-concern opinions and subsequent bankruptcy. The weight auditors put on management forecasts in the going-concern decision is not significantly different from the weight implied in the bankruptcy prediction model. Moreover, compared with the bankruptcy model, auditors assign a lower weight to management forecasts they perceive as being less credible, including those (1) issued by managers who issued optimistic forecasts in the previous two years, and (2) predicting high earnings increases or high earnings. Taken together, our evidence is consistent with auditors being professionally skeptical about management earnings forecasts when making going-concern decisions.
Keywords: professional skepticism, management forecast, going-concern
JEL Classification: M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation