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Auditing the auditors: Evidence on the recent reforms to the external monitoring of audit firms


  • Lennox, Clive
  • Pittman, Jeffrey


This paper analyzes audit firm supervision since the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) began conducting inspections. First, we find that audit clients do not perceive that the PCAOB's inspection reports are valuable for signaling audit quality. Second, we document that the information content of peer review reports fell after they became narrower in scope with the initiation of PCAOB inspections. Third, we isolate that the signaling role of peer review reports mainly stems from information that PCAOB inspectors do not publicly disclose. Collectively, our evidence implies that less is known about audit firm quality under the new regulatory regime.

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  • Lennox, Clive & Pittman, Jeffrey, 2010. "Auditing the auditors: Evidence on the recent reforms to the external monitoring of audit firms," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1-2), pages 84-103, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:49:y:2010:i:1-2:p:84-103

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joseph Weber & Michael Willenborg & Jieying Zhang, 2008. "Does Auditor Reputation Matter? The Case of KPMG Germany and ComROAD AG," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 941-972, September.
    2. Fogarty, Timothy J., 1996. "The imagery and reality of peer review in the U.S.: Insights from institutional theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 243-267.
    3. Michael Firth, 1990. "Auditor Reputation: The Impact of Critical Reports Issued by Government Inspectors," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 374-387.
    4. Pittman, Jeffrey A. & Fortin, Steve, 2004. "Auditor choice and the cost of debt capital for newly public firms," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, pages 113-136.
    5. Sattar A. Mansi & William F. Maxwell & Darius P. Miller, 2004. "Does Auditor Quality and Tenure Matter to Investors? Evidence from the Bond Market," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 755-793, September.
    6. Feltham, Gerald A. & Hughes, John S. & Simunic, Dan A., 1991. "Empirical assessment of the impact of auditor quality on the valuation of new issues," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, pages 375-399.
    7. Hilary, Gilles & Lennox, Clive, 2005. "The credibility of self-regulation: Evidence from the accounting profession's peer review program," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, pages 211-229.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jaecon:v:64:y:2017:i:1:p:15-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Keith A. Houghton & Michael Kend & Christine Jubb, 2013. "The CLERP 9 Audit Reforms: Benefits and Costs Through the Eyes of Regulators, Standard Setters and Audit Service Suppliers," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 49(2), pages 139-160, June.
    3. PYZIAK, Pawel & MIRONESCU, Alexandra & STEPIEN, Sebastian, 2012. "Resizing Employability Throughout Vocational Education And Training Promotion," Holistic Marketing Management Journal, Holistic Marketing Management, vol. 2(3), pages 70-76, September.
    4. Lamar Pierce & Michael W. Toffel, 2010. "The Role of Organizational Scope and Governance in Strengthening Private Monitoring," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-004, Harvard Business School, revised Feb 2012.
    5. repec:kap:jbuset:v:142:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3156-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Tan, Fangfang & Yim, Andrew, 2010. "Deterrence Effects of Auditing Rules: An Experimental Study," MPRA Paper 27859, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Beattie, Vivien & Fearnley, Stella & Hines, Tony, 2010. "Factors Affecting Audit Quality in the 2007 UK Regulatory Environment: Perceptions of Chief Financial Officers, Audit Committee Chairs and Audit Engagement Partners," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-29, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    8. Wainberg, James S. & Kida, Thomas & David Piercey, M. & Smith, James F., 2013. "The impact of anecdotal data in regulatory audit firm inspection reports," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 621-636.
    9. DeFond, Mark & Zhang, Jieying, 2014. "A review of archival auditing research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, pages 275-326.
    10. Caramanis, Constantinos & Dedoulis, Emmanouil & Leventis, Stergios, 2015. "Transplanting Anglo-American accounting oversight boards to a diverse institutional context," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 12-31.
    11. Wen-Ching Chang & Yahn-Shir Chen & Ling-Tai Lynette Chou & Chia-Hui Ko, 2016. "Audit Partner Disciplinary Actions and Financial Restatements," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 52(2), pages 286-318, June.
    12. DeFond, Mark L. & Lennox, Clive S., 2011. "The effect of SOX on small auditor exits and audit quality," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 21-40, June.
    13. Löhlein, Lukas, 2016. "From peer review to PCAOB inspections: regulating for audit quality in the U.S," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67147, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. repec:eee:jaecon:v:63:y:2017:i:2:p:262-287 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Anantharaman, Divya, 2012. "Comparing self-regulation and statutory regulation: Evidence from the accounting profession," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 55-77.
    16. Xianjie He & Jeffrey Pittman & Oliver Rui, 2016. "Reputational Implications for Partners After a Major Audit Failure: Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, pages 703-722.
    17. Cristina Fuentes & Manuel Illueca & Maria Pucheta-Martinez, 2015. "External investigations and disciplinary sanctions against auditors: the impact on audit quality," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 313-347, August.
    18. Brandon Gipper & Christian Leuz & Mark Maffett, 2015. "Public Audit Oversight and Reporting Credibility: Evidence from the PCAOB Inspection Regime," NBER Working Papers 21530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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