The Effect of Financial Audits on Governance Practices: Evidence from the Nonprofit Sector

51 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2018 Last revised: 7 Sep 2022

See all articles by Raphael Duguay

Raphael Duguay

Yale School of Management; Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

Date Written: September 6, 2022

Abstract

I evaluate the effect of financial statement audits on the governance practices of nonprofit organizations. Using a regression discontinuity design that exploits revenue-based exemption thresholds, I find that financial audits cause organizations to implement governance mechanisms such as conflict-of-interest policies, whistleblower policies, and formal approval of the CEO’s compensation by a committee. Consistent with these governance practices curtailing managers’ private benefits, I document reductions in nepotism and CEO-to-employee pay ratio. These results are more pronounced for organizations with an independent board of directors and with an audit committee, suggesting that audits lead to such governance reform primarily when the auditor reports directly to the governing body (as opposed to management). Collectively, my findings shed light on the role that financial audits play in shaping organizations’ governance, beyond financial statements’ direct use in decision making and contracting.

Keywords: auditing, governance, real effects, nonprofit organizations

JEL Classification: M42, G34, M48, L31

Suggested Citation

Duguay, Raphael, The Effect of Financial Audits on Governance Practices: Evidence from the Nonprofit Sector (September 6, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3273502 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3273502

Raphael Duguay (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

165 Whitney Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO) ( email )

2020 rue University, 25th floor
Montreal H3C 3J7, Quebec
Canada

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