IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Do Key Audit Matters Signal Corporate Bankruptcy?


  • Mahmoud Elmarzouky

    (Kingston Business School, Kingston University, UK)

  • Khaled Hussainey

    (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Portsmouth, UK)

  • Tarek Abdelfattah

    (Faculty of Business and Law, University of Portsmouth, UK, and Faculty of Commerce, Mansoura University, Egypt)


Research Question - This paper aims to answer whether the Key Audit Matters (KAMs) Signaling Corporate Bankruptcy and investigate auditor responsibility versus the lack of auditing standards, and examine whether the disclosure of the KAMs by independent auditors enhances the prediction of corporate bankruptcy and the extent to which the KAMs reduce the information asymmetry between firm managers and shareholders. Motivation - We analyse the risk topics in the annual reports, then the KAMs highlighted by the auditor and then the KAMs are disclosed by adopting a case study approach. Data - We use a single descriptive case study approach and read the relative academic and professional literature to explore the KAMs included in the auditors' reports before the Thomas Cook Group Plc bankruptcy. Findings - We find no significant predicting power of KAMs disclosed by Ernst & Young (EY) on Thomas Cook's annual reports. We found that the auditor is not responsible for indicating financial failure. Contribution - We suggest that the regulators and the accounting boards adopt more restrictive standards and improve the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) 701. Furthermore, attention should be focused on the reliability of KAMs specified in ISA 701. We conclude that the KAMs are ineffective in disclosing bankruptcy risk. Our paper concludes that the current auditing standards should be more instructive in preventing corporate bankruptcy. We contribute to the literature in a unique and core research area not researched previously.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahmoud Elmarzouky & Khaled Hussainey & Tarek Abdelfattah, 2022. "Do Key Audit Matters Signal Corporate Bankruptcy?," Journal of Accounting and Management Information Systems, Faculty of Accounting and Management Information Systems, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 315-334, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ami:journl:v:21:y:2022:i:3:p:315-334

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xia Zhang & Kwadwo Ofori-Mensah, 2019. "Does the Addition of Explicit Clarification of Auditor Independence Statement to the Auditor’s Report Matter to Equity Analysts?," Accounting and Finance Research, Sciedu Press, vol. 8(2), pages 156-156, May.
    2. Madan Lal Bhasin, 2016. "Fraudulent Reporting Practices by Satyam," Traektoriâ Nauki = Path of Science, Altezoro, s.r.o. & Dialog, vol. 2(10(15)), pages 1.7-1.1.21, October.
    3. Pentland, Brian T., 1993. "Getting comfortable with the numbers: Auditing and the micro-production of macro-order," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 18(7-8), pages 605-620.
    4. Nora Muñoz-Izquierdo & María-del-Mar Camacho-Miñano & María-Jesús Segovia-Vargas & David Pascual-Ezama, 2019. "Is the External Audit Report Useful for Bankruptcy Prediction? Evidence Using Artificial Intelligence," IJFS, MDPI, vol. 7(2), pages 1-23, April.
    5. Kakkuri-Knuuttila, Marja-Liisa & Lukka, Kari & Kuorikoski, Jaakko, 2008. "Straddling between paradigms: A naturalistic philosophical case study on interpretive research in management accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 267-291.
    6. DeFond, Mark & Zhang, Jieying, 2014. "A review of archival auditing research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 275-326.
    7. Anna-Maija Lantto, 2014. "Business Involvement in Accounting: A Case Study of International Financial Reporting Standards Adoption and the Work of Accountants," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(2), pages 335-356, June.
    8. Tomasz Iwanowicz & Bartłomiej Iwanowicz, 2019. "ISA 701 and Materiality Disclosure as Methods to Minimize the Audit Expectation Gap," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 12(4), pages 1-20, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Alexey Litvinenko, 2023. "A Comparative Analysis of Altman's Z-Score and T. Jury's Cash-Based Credit Risk Models with The Application to The Production Company and The Data for The Years 2016-2022," Journal of Accounting and Management Information Systems, Faculty of Accounting and Management Information Systems, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, vol. 22(3), pages 518-553, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Collin, Sven-Olof Yrjö & Tagesson, Torbjörn & Andersson, Anette & Cato, Joosefin & Hansson, Karin, 2009. "Explaining the choice of accounting standards in municipal corporations: Positive accounting theory and institutional theory as competitive or concurrent theories," CRITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ACCOUNTING, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 141-174.
    2. Huq, Asif & Hartwig, Fredrik & Rudholm, Niklas, 2018. "Do audited firms have lower cost of debt?," HUI Working Papers 132, HUI Research.
    3. Guénin-Paracini, Henri & Malsch, Bertrand & Paillé, Anne Marché, 2014. "Fear and risk in the audit process," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 264-288.
    4. Kornberger, Martin & Justesen, Lise & Mouritsen, Jan, 2011. "“When you make manager, we put a big mountain in front of you”: An ethnography of managers in a Big 4 Accounting Firm," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 514-533.
    5. Olivier Herrbach, 2001. "Audit quality, auditor behaviour and the psychological contract," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 787-802.
    6. Goodson, Brian M. & Grenier, Jonathan H. & Maksymov, Eldar, 2023. "When law students think like audit litigation attorneys: Implications for experimental research," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 104(C).
    7. Knechel, W. Robert, 2007. "The business risk audit: Origins, obstacles and opportunities," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(4-5), pages 383-408.
    8. Agustín J. Sánchez-Medina & Félix Blázquez-Santana & Jesús B. Alonso, 2019. "Do Auditors Reflect the True Image of the Company Contrary to the Clients’ Interests? An Artificial Intelligence Approach," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 155(2), pages 529-545, March.
    9. Ferguson, Andrew & Lam, Peter & Ma, Nelson, 2018. "Market reactions to auditor switches under regulatory consent and market driven regimes," Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 197-215.
    10. Habib, Ahsan & Ranasinghe, Dinithi & Muhammadi, Abdul Haris & Islam, Ainul, 2018. "Political connections, financial reporting and auditing: Survey of the empirical literature," Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 37-51.
    11. Sebastian Kronenberger & Volker Laux, 2022. "Conservative Accounting, Audit Quality, and Litigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 68(3), pages 2349-2362, March.
    12. Ghafran, Chaudhry & O'Sullivan, Noel, 2017. "The impact of audit committee expertise on audit quality: Evidence from UK audit fees," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 578-593.
    13. Mohammad Hudaib & Roszaini Haniffa, 2009. "Exploring auditor independence: an interpretive approach," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 22(2), pages 221-246, January.
    14. Yin Liu & Huiqi Gan & Khondkar Karim, 2020. "Corporate risk-taking after adoption of compensation clawback provisions," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 617-649, February.
    15. Kausar, Asad & Shroff, Nemit & White, Hal, 2016. "Real effects of the audit choice," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 157-181.
    16. Feng Guo & Chenxi Lin & Adi Masli & Michael S. Wilkins, 2021. "Auditor Responses to Shareholder Activism," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(1), pages 63-95, March.
    17. Zvi Singer & Jing Zhang, 2022. "Do companies try to conceal financial misstatements through auditor shopping?," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1-2), pages 140-180, January.
    18. Stefano Cascino & Ane Tamayo & Felix Vetter, 2021. "Labor Market Effects of Spatial Licensing Requirements: Evidence from CPA Mobility," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 111-161, March.
    19. Liang Tan & Santhosh Ramalingegowda & Yong Yu, 2022. "Third-Party Consequences of Changes in Managerial Fiduciary Duties: The Case of Auditors’ Going Concern Opinions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 68(2), pages 1556-1572, February.
    20. Federica De Santis, 2016. "Auditing Standard Change and Auditors' Everyday Practice: A Field Study," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(12), pages 41-54, December.

    More about this item


    Key Audit Matters; Extended audit report; Risk disclosure; Bankruptcy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ami:journl:v:21:y:2022:i:3:p:315-334. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Cristina Tartavulea (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.