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The Effect of Corporate Status on External Audit Fees: Evidence From the UK

Mark Clatworthy () and Michael Peel

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2007, vol. 34, issue 1‐2, 169-201

Abstract: Abstract: This paper simultaneously examines, for the first time, the determinants of external audit fees of UK companies drawn from the quoted sector (Main Market, the Alternative Investment Market and Ofex), and the unquoted sector (public and private limited companies). The paper also provides new evidence on the effects of corporate failure and the persistence of the big four and mid‐tier auditor premiums across the public and private corporate sectors. After controlling for firm size, audit risk and complexity, we find that quoted and unquoted public limited companies have significantly higher audit fees than their private limited counterparts. Our estimates imply that relative premiums for market/corporate form are as follows: Main Market over AIM, 6.8%; AIM over Ofex, 19.5%; Ofex over unquoted plc, 15.5%; and unquoted plc over private, 16.7%. However, despite indications in prior US research to the contrary, we find no evidence that insolvent firms that failed were charged higher audit fees in the year preceding failure. A positive relationship is also found between audit and consultancy fees – a result that persists using an instrumental variables approach to control for endogeneity.

Date: 2007
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https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5957.2006.00658.x

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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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