Do PCAOB Inspections Improve the Quality of Internal Control Audits?

Posted: 18 Oct 2017

See all articles by Mark L. DeFond

Mark L. DeFond

University of Southern California - Leventhal School of Accounting

Clive S. Lennox

University of Southern California

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1, 2017

Abstract

We investigate whether Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) inspections affect the quality of internal control audits. Our research design improves on prior studies by exploiting both cross-sectional and time-series variation in the content of PCAOB inspection reports, while also controlling for audit firm and year fixed effects, effectively achieving a difference-in-differences research design. We find that when PCAOB inspectors report higher rates of deficiencies in internal control audits, auditors respond by increasing the issuance of adverse internal control opinions. We also find that auditors issue more adverse internal control opinions to clients with concurrent misstatements, who thus genuinely warrant adverse opinions. We further find that higher inspection deficiency rates lead to higher audit fees, consistent with PCAOB inspections prompting auditors to undertake costly remediation efforts. Taken together, our results are consistent with the PCAOB inspections improving the quality of internal control audits by prompting auditors to remediate deficiencies in their audits of internal controls.

Keywords: auditing; audit opinions; internal controls; regulation; PCAOB;SEC; SOX

JEL Classification: G38; K23; M42; M48

Suggested Citation

DeFond, Mark and Lennox, Clive, Do PCAOB Inspections Improve the Quality of Internal Control Audits? (June 1, 2017). Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 55, No. 3, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3054755

Mark DeFond (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Leventhal School of Accounting ( email )

Accounting Building, Room 206
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0441
United States
213-740-5016 (Phone)
213-747-2815 (Fax)

Clive Lennox

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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