Are all audits born equal?

Tyrone M. Carlin, Nigel Finch, Guy Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

By convention, the quality of an audit is understood to relate to the joint probability that its conduct results in the detection and reporting of material financial statement errors. Early research into this phenomenon suggested a positive relationship between audit firm size and audit quality. This has resulted in a plethora of studies in which a fundamental element of the research design has been to segment data samples into portions relating to large and small audit firms and to test for evidence of audit quality differences apparently associated with the size of the firm conducting the audit. Many such studies have concluded that larger audit firms do indeed provide higher quality audit services. Typically however, the quality of audit services provided by large firms (of which there are very few) has been assumed to be or treated as homogenous. While the collapse of Arthur Andersen lead to some work which questioned this approach, on the whole, the large firm homogenous quality assumption stands. This paper examines the quality of disclosures pertaining to the high risk issue of goodwill impairment testing made by a sample of large Australian listed corporations in the first year after their transition to A-IFRS. All firms in the sample were clients of Big 4 auditors. However, disclosure quality and compliance levels varied substantially, with audit firm identity appearing to explain a substantial proportion of observed cross sectional variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied research in accounting and finance
Volume2
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the publisher Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This archived copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to use this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.

Keywords

  • audit quality
  • IFRS
  • impairment
  • Big 4
  • goodwill

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