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External Auditors, Audit Committees and Earnings Management in France

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  • Charles Piot
  • Remi Janin
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    Abstract

    We investigate the effect of various audit quality dimensions (i.e. auditor reputation and tenure, audit committee existence and independence) on earnings management in France. We thus contribute to the empirical audit quality literature in a Continental European environment that markedly differs from the USA in terms of auditing and corporate governance. The main findings are that: (1) the presence of an audit committee (but not the committee's independence) curbs upward earnings management; and (2) the presence of a Big Five auditor makes no difference regarding earnings management activities. Implications of these findings are discussed with regard to the specificities of the French auditing and governance settings. In particular, although the audit committee acts as a device to control the more egregious (i.e. income-increasing) forms of earnings management, the monitoring incentive of outside directors may be hampered by the collective board responsibility for financial reporting quality. Second, the lack of differentiation among Big Five auditors in terms of accounting conservatism is consistent with the lower litigation risk offered by the French Civil Code (vs. the US Common Law system), which is likely to eliminate the deep pockets incentive for investors.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638180701391030
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 16 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 429-454

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:16:y:2007:i:2:p:429-454

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    Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/REAR20

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    Cited by:
    1. Iatridis, George Emmanuel, 2012. "Audit quality in common-law and code-law emerging markets: Evidence on earnings conservatism, agency costs and cost of equity," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 101-117.
    2. Gilles David & Nadia Mhirsi, 2011. "Etude exploratoire de la structuration du Co-commissariat aux comptes en France," Post-Print halshs-00596547, HAL.
    3. D. Retour & C. Piot, 2008. "L'influence des auditeurs externes et des comités d'audit sur le contenu informatif des manipulations comptables," Post-Print halshs-00450350, HAL.
    4. Rana Ahmad Baker & Ali Al-Thuneibat, 2011. "Audit tenure and the equity risk premium: evidence from Jordan," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 19(1), pages 5-23, March.
    5. Cédric Lesage & Sabine Ratzinger & Jaana Kettunen, 2012. "Struggle over joint audit: on behalf of public interest?," Post-Print hal-00935004, HAL.
    6. Anis Mnif, 2009. "Corporate Governance And Management Earnings Forecast Quality: Evidence From French Ipos," Post-Print halshs-00459171, HAL.
    7. Gilles David & Nadia Mhirsi, 2011. "Etude exploratoire de la structuration du Co-commissariat aux comptes en France," Post-Print hal-00647593, HAL.

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