Reducing Restatements with Increased Industry Expertise
Contemporary Accounting Research, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2009
Posted: 10 Jul 2006 Last revised: 24 Sep 2009
Date Written: June 3, 2009
This paper examines whether the likelihood of accounting restatements is associated with the Big 4 industry auditor specialists, measured at both the partner–level and audit firm-level leadership. We focus on a sample of listed firms in Taiwan where audit reports must be audited and signed by the two signing auditors as well as by an audit firm. Extending previous studies (e.g., Francis, Reichelt, and Wang 2005, 2006), we classify industry specialists into three groups: (1) auditors that are industry specialists at both the individual partner-level (i.e. the lead signing auditors) and the firm-level; (2) auditors that are industry specialists at the individual partner-level, but not at the firm-level; and (3) auditors that are industry specialists at the firm-level, but not at the individual partner-level. The results reveal that clients of signing auditor specialists, either alone or in conjunction with firm-level specialists, are less likely to make accounting restatements relative to those of other auditors. We find no evidence that firm-level auditor specialists alone are associated with a smaller likelihood of accounting restatements. However, a firm-level industry expert does matter in the presence of the lead auditor being an expert. The results suggest that differential likelihood of accounting restatements due to the Big 4 industry expertise is primarily attributable to the signing partner specialists rather than to auditor specialists at the firm level. We also find that differential restatement likelihood due to signing auditors’ expertise is driven by the lead auditor’s expertise, rather than by the concurring auditor’s expertise.
Keywords: Partner industry specialist, Audit firm industry specialist, Accounting restatements
JEL Classification: M49, M41, M47, G38, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation