Going, Going, Still Here? Determinants and Reactions to Consecutive Going Concern Opinions
59 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 9, 2015
This study examines whether audit firm knowledge and resources affect the likelihood a company receives consecutive going concern opinions. We also consider whether consecutive going concern opinions are useful to financial statement users. Recent comments from the FASB and PCAOB question the usefulness of going concern opinions to financial statement users. While going concern opinions are issued when substantial doubt exists about a client's viability beyond the next reporting period, little is known about why some companies receive consecutive going concern opinions. We find larger audit firms and audit firms with greater expertise issue fewer consecutive going concern opinions to their clients, and smaller audit firms issue consecutive going concern opinions to a greater proportion of clients at higher risk of bankruptcy and misstatements. This result suggests companies audited by firms with fewer resources operate longer with going concern uncertainty. We also find the initial market reactions to going concern opinions decrease with consecutive going concern opinions and disappear when consecutive going concerns exceed three. These results are consistent with FASB and PCAOB concerns. This study provides initial evidence on one source of the reduced value of going concern opinions.
Keywords: Audit firm, going concern, financial distress, auditor knowledge
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