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Auditor–Provided Consultancy Services and their Associations with Audit Fees and Audit Opinions

Michael Firth

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2002, vol. 29, issue 5‐6, 661-693

Abstract: This study examines the relationships between non–audit services fees (consultancy fees) paid to auditors and (1) audit fees, and (2) the occurrence of qualified audit opinions. The positive association between consultancy fees and audit fees is shown to be due to certain company specific events that generate a demand for consultancy services as well as requiring additional audit effort. Identified company specific events are mergers and acquisitions, new share issues, new accounting and information systems, new CEOs, and corporate restructurings. When these events are absent, there is no statistically significant relationship between audit fees and consultancy fees after controlling for company size. Companies that have relatively high consultancy fees are more likely to receive a clean audit opinion. This may be due to the non–audit work clearing up problem areas at the client company or it may be due to high consultancy fees impairing auditor independence. With the available data it is not possible to distinguish between these two reasons.

Date: 2002
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Journal of Business Finance & Accounting is currently edited by P. F. Pope, A. W. Stark and M. Walker

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