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The consequences of protecting audit partners’ personal assets from the threat of liability

Author

Listed:
  • Lennox, Clive
  • Li, Bing

Abstract

This study investigates the audit firm’s decision to protect its partners’ personal assets by becoming a limited liability partnership (LLP). We find that the likelihood of an audit firm switching from unlimited to limited liability is increasing in its size and exposure to litigation risk. We find no evidence that audit firms supply lower audit quality, lose market share, or charge lower audit fees after they become LLPs. However, the mix of public and private clients in audit firms’ portfolios exhibits a significant shift toward riskier publicly traded companies after the switch to limited liability.

Suggested Citation

  • Lennox, Clive & Li, Bing, 2012. "The consequences of protecting audit partners’ personal assets from the threat of liability," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 154-173.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:54:y:2012:i:2:p:154-173
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jacceco.2012.06.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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.
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    9. Napier, Christopher J., 1998. "Intersections of law and accountancy: Unlimited auditor liability in the United Kingdom," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 105-128, January.
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    11. Dye, Ronald A, 1993. "Auditing Standards, Legal Liability, and Auditor Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 887-914, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jochen Bigus, 2015. "Auditor Reputation Under Different Negligence Regimes," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 51(3), pages 356-378, September.
    2. DeFond, Mark & Zhang, Jieying, 2014. "A review of archival auditing research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 275-326.
    3. Badolato, Patrick G. & Donelson, Dain C. & Ege, Matthew, 2014. "Audit committee financial expertise and earnings management: The role of status," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 208-230.
    4. repec:eee:jaecon:v:63:y:2017:i:2:p:262-287 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Xianjie He & Jeffrey Pittman & Oliver Rui, 2016. "Reputational Implications for Partners After a Major Audit Failure: Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 138(4), pages 703-722, November.
    6. Seyed Mahmoud Hosseinniakani & Helena Inacio & Rui Mota, 2014. "A Review on Audit Quality Factors," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 243-254, April.
    7. repec:kap:jbuset:v:147:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2986-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Audit liability; Audit quality; LLP;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • M42 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Auditing

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