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Internal audit department characteristics/activities and audit fees: Some evidence from Hong Kong firms

Sandra Ho and Marion Hutchinson

Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, 2010, vol. 19, issue 2, 121-136

Abstract: This study provides preliminary support for the notion that internal audit function assists in reducing external audit effort and fees. Data on internal audit characteristics and activities are obtained from survey respondents of Hong Kong companies and audit fee model data are acquired from their annual reports. The results of this study suggest that the external auditor of firms in Hong Kong rely on the internal audit function and subsequently charge a lower fee. Lower external audit fees are associated with a larger internal audit department and certain activities carried out by the internal audit. Specifically, lower external audit fees are associated with more internal audit effort spent on activities relating to financial statements, systems development and maintenance, operating efficiency and effectiveness, fraud investigations and unlimited access to internal auditors’ working papers. The results of this study suggest that the contribution of the internal audit may substitute for some substantive external auditing processes and lower monitoring costs.

Keywords: Audit fees; Internal audit; Internal control; Agency problem (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jiaata:v:19:y:2010:i:2:p:121-136

DOI: 10.1016/j.intaccaudtax.2010.07.004

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