Can Audit Firms Improve their PCAOB Inspection Reports by Hiring PCAOB Employees?
60 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018 Last revised: 1 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 1, 2019
This study examines whether audit firms hire former Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) employees in response to negative PCAOB inspection reports, and whether such hiring leads to reductions in future inspection deficiencies and an increase in audit quality. Using a large sample of publicly available curricula vitae, we find that the number of PCAOB employees hired by large audit firms is positively related to the number of deficiencies reported in their prior PCAOB inspection report, and that the number of deficiencies reported in firms’ future inspection reports is negatively associated with the number of former PCAOB employees hired. However, we find no evidence of any association between the number of former PCAOB employees that a firm hires and improvement in five other commonly used measures of audit quality. Our findings thus combine to suggest that PCAOB personnel possess valuable knowledge about how to perform and document audit procedures to satisfy PCAOB reviewers, but that this expertise does not necessarily have direct implications for the accuracy and reliability of clients’ financial reports.
Keywords: Audit Quality, PCAOB, Regulation, Inter-Industry Worker Flows, Revolving Door
JEL Classification: G28, G38, M41, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation