Company Characteristics and Their Effects on the Size of the Internal Audit Function: Empirical Evidence From European Countries
41 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 25, 2019
The internal audit function (IAF) has become one of the main pillars of good corporate governance in recent years. Empirical findings show that the size of the IAF varies considerably across companies. This study analyzes the effect of selected company characteristics on the size of the IAF. First, a theoretical model outlines the idea that IAF size depends on company characteristics that affect existing information asymmetries within the company. Second, we test this relationship by analyzing comprehensive survey data obtained from chief audit executives from 283 Austrian, German, and Swiss organizations. Using a nonparametric regression approach, we identify a set of company characteristics as key drivers of IAF size. Furthermore, the empirical analysis identifies threshold levels for several metric company characteristics, such as the number of employees and the number of subsidiaries, whose effects on the size of the IAF change its intensity. Additionally, our study provides a helpful benchmark for the appropriateness of a company’s IAF size, which is of value for practitioners.
Keywords: Company characteristics, Company size, Internal audit, Internal audit function
JEL Classification: G34, M40, M49
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