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Independent and joint effects of audit partner tenure and non-audit fees on audit quality

Abhijeet Singh, Harjinder Singh, Nigar Sultana and John Evans

Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, 2019, vol. 15, issue 2, 186-205

Abstract: We examine the individual and joint effects of auditors’ non-audit services (NAS)/abnormal NAS fees and length of audit partner tenure on audit quality. Our results raise questions about the ‘one size fits all’ approach imposed by the current audit partner rotation requirement in Australia as a result of (1) a learning differentiation that we observe between Big 4 and non-Big 4 auditors and (2) higher discretionary accruals associated with non-Big 4 auditors. We find abnormal NAS fees to have a positive association with both absolute and positive (income-increasing) values of discretionary accruals for firms with short audit partner tenure. NAS/abnormal NAS fees are also negatively associated with the issuance of going concern opinions to financially distressed firms when partner tenure is short. In terms of policy implications, regulators are able to gauge the efficacy of the CLERP 9 reforms which currently impose a five year mandatory audit partner rotation requirement.

Keywords: Audit quality; Auditor tenure; Non-audit services; Auditor independence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G18 M41 M42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics is currently edited by Agnes C.S. Cheng, P. Clarkson, F.A. Gul, Zoltan Matolcsy, Dan Simunic and Ben Srinidhi

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