Lending relationships, auditor quality and debt costs
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the circumstances under which high quality audits reduce a firm's cost of debt. The paper extends previous research by Pittman and Fortin by considering how auditor quality relates to the capital cycle and industry of the firm. Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses a sample of US initial public offerings (IPOs) from 1986 to 1998 to analyze a firm's debt costs for the five years following the IPO. The paper uses a firm's private age as a proxy for its capital cycle and existing banking relationships to capture the likely extent of debt dependence prior to IPO. The authors separately analyze technology firms from other firms. Findings - Consistent with prior literature, it is found that firms that are young at the time of an IPO pay higher interest rates and auditor quality plays a significant role in lowering the cost of debt financing. Consistent with the hypotheses made, the authors also observe that the effect of auditor quality is larger for firms in the high tech industry sector. Further, the relationship between auditor quality and age depends on industry, with the benefits of hiring a high quality auditor primarily accruing to younger tech firms and older non-tech firms. Originality/value - While the issue of auditor quality and cost of debt has been examined by previous researchers, the additional insight that the effect of auditor quality depends on both capital cycle (age) and industry of a firm, increases understanding of the circumstances under which the audit of financial statements is socially desirable and economically valuable to investors and other stakeholders.
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Volume (Year): 27 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
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