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Evidence on (the lack of) audit-quality differentiation in the private client segment of the belgian audit market


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  • Heidi Vander Bauwhede
  • Marleen Willekens


This paper contributes to the empirical audit-quality literature and provides evidence on (the lack of) audit-quality differentiation in the private client segment of the Belgian audit market. Auditor size is used as audit-quality proxy. Prior evidence on audit-quality differentiation between Big Six and non-Big Six auditors in the private client segment of the Belgian audit market is mixed. In this paper we investigate whether these mixed results stem from the inability of the dichotomous Big Six/non-Big Six variable to capture auditor-size differences in a less concentrated audit market. To that end we examine whether alternative continuous measures of audit-firm size (i.e. auditor market share, number of audit-firm clients, number of partners in the audit firm, total assets and operating profit of the audit firm) have a constraining impact on earnings management in a large sample of privately held Belgian companies (n = 1,302). Overall, we do not find evidence that is supportive of quality differentiation in the private client segment of the Belgian audit market.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

Volume (Year): 13 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 501-522

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Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:13:y:2004:i:3:p:501-522

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Cited by:
  1. Arnedo, Laura & Lizarraga, Fermin & Sanchez, Santiago, 2007. "Does public/private status affect the level of earnings management in code-law contexts outside the United States? A study based on the Spanish case," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 305-328.
  2. Tom Van Caneghem, 2010. "Audit pricing and the Big4 fee premium: evidence from Belgium," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 122-139, February.
  3. Seyed Mahmoud Hosseinniakani & Helena Inacio & Rui Mota, 2014. "A Review on Audit Quality Factors," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 243-254, April.
  4. Manuel Cano Rodríguez & Santiago Sánchez Alegría, 2012. "The value of audit quality in public and private companies: evidence from Spain," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 683-706, November.
  5. Verbruggen, Sandra & Christiaens, Johan & Reheul, Anne-Mie & Van Caneghem, Tom, 2011. "Audit pricing in a reformed nonprofit market," Working Papers 2011/29, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
  6. Vanstraelen, Ann & Richard, Chrystelle & Francis, Jere, 2006. "Assessing France's joint audit requirement: are two heads better than one?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1073, Paris Dauphine University.
  7. S. Verbruggen & J. Christiaens & A. Reheul & T. Van Caneghem, 2011. "Audit pricing in a reformed nonprofit market," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 11/764, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  8. Reheul, Anne-Mie & Van Caneghem, Tom & Verbruggen, Sandra, 2011. "Auditor choice in the Belgian nonprofit sector: a behavioral perspective," Working Papers 2011/36, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.


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