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Auditor Independence, Non‐Audit Services, and Restatements: Was the U.S. Government Right?

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  • William R. Kinney
  • Zoe‐Vonna Palmrose
  • Susan Scholz

Abstract

Do fees for non‐audit services compromise auditor's independence and result in reduced quality of financial reporting? The Sarbanes‐Oxley Act of 2002 presumes that some fees do and bans these services for audit clients. Also, some registrants voluntarily restrict their audit firms from providing legally permitted non‐audit services. Assuming that restatements of previously issued financial statements reflect low‐quality financial reporting, we investigate detailed fees for restating registrants for 1995 to 2000 and for similar nonrestating registrants. We do not find a statistically significant positive association between fees for either financial information systems design and implementation or internal audit services and restatements, but we do find some such association for unspecified non‐audit services and restatements. We find a significant negative association between tax services fees and restatements, consistent with net benefits from acquiring tax services from a registrant's audit firm. The significant associations are driven primarily by larger registrants.

Suggested Citation

  • William R. Kinney & Zoe‐Vonna Palmrose & Susan Scholz, 2004. "Auditor Independence, Non‐Audit Services, and Restatements: Was the U.S. Government Right?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 561-588, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:42:y:2004:i:3:p:561-588
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-679X.2004.t01-1-00141.x
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