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International Effects of the Andersen Accounting and Auditing Scandals: Some Evidence from the US, UK and Australian Stock Markets

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  • Morrison Handley-Schachler
  • Steven Li

    (School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology)

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    Abstract

    In this paper, we use event study methodology to examine the effect of two highly publicized accounting failures, at Enron and WorldCom both audited by Arthur Andersen, on the total stock returns of some companies in the UK also audited by Arthur Andersen. The results vary substantially between countries. We find no evidence of a significant impact in the UK or US. There is some evidence of negative abnormal returns at the time of the Enron scandal in Australia. However, this reaction was very short-lived and the negative abnormal returns on the stocks of Andersen-audited companies had been fully recovered within a week. Our results suggest that sharing an auditor with a firm that has issued corrections to accounts which have previously received an unqualified audit opinion does not significantly affect market perceptions of firms’ value, which suggests that the choice of auditor has little, if any, impact on market perceptions of the reliability of published financial information. Key words: Accounting scandals, Enron, WorldCom, Event study, International Stock Markets.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 202.

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    Date of creation: 15 Jun 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:202

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