Does Audit Committee Accounting Expertise Help to Promote Audit Quality? Evidence from Auditor Reporting of Internal Control Weaknesses
56 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2017 Last revised: 20 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 2018
In this study, we examine whether audit committee accounting expertise helps to promote audit quality by motivating auditors to conduct diligent internal control audits and make appropriate internal control assessments because audit committee accounting expertise safeguards auditors from dismissal following adverse internal control opinions. Among clients with existing and likely internal control material weaknesses (as proxied by future restatements of audited financial statements), we find a greater likelihood of adverse internal control audit opinions when the audit committee has greater accounting expertise (measured by the proportion of accounting experts on the audit committee). Among all clients, we find a lower likelihood of subsequent auditor dismissal following an adverse internal control audit opinion when the audit committee has greater accounting expertise. In further analyses, we find that this lower likelihood of subsequent auditor dismissal occurs when at least two audit committee members possess accounting expertise. We also find some evidence that chief financial officer influence (but not chief executive officer influence) over the audit committee negates the increased likelihood of adverse internal control opinions when internal control material weaknesses likely exist as well as the decreased likelihood of auditor dismissal following adverse internal control opinions. These findings have important implications for regulators and corporate nominating committees interested in promoting audit committee effectiveness.
Keywords: Audit Committee, Accounting Expertise, Internal Control, Auditor Dismissal
JEL Classification: M41, M42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation