Corporate ownership characteristics and timeliness of remediation of internal control weaknesses
Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to examine the association between the corporate ownership characteristics and the timely remediation of internal control weaknesses over financial reporting under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002. Design/methodology/approach - The paper employs both ordered and binary logistic regression models for a sample of 695 US firms who reported internal control weaknesses for the first time, pursuant to SOX Section 404, and evaluates the impact of the stock ownership characteristics on the timeliness in remediation of their control weaknesses. Findings - The test results show that the corporate ownership characteristics, as a part of governance mechanism, play an incrementally critical role to influence firms' decisions to promptly remediate their internal control problems and improve the reliability of financial information. In addition, it was also found that a corporate board independent of its CEO is effective in monitoring timely remediation of control problems. Sub-sample analyses for the company-level and account-specific internal control weaknesses produce similar results in support of the effect of corporate stock ownership characteristics on the timely remediation of internal control weaknesses. Originality/value - First, the paper adds to the literature by demonstrating the incremental effect of the stock ownership characteristics on a firm's timeliness in remediation of control weaknesses, even after controlling the effect of audit committee and board characteristics in the analysis. Second, the paper shows that even in the post-SOX years with enhanced regulatory oversight in corporate affairs, the effect of corporate ownership attributes as a part of governance is incrementally observable in a situation that calls for prompt managerial action to ensure the reliability of financial information. Third, for the first time, the study makes a separate detailed analysis on the association between the stock ownership attributes and the remediation of company-level and account-specific control weaknesses. The results provide valuable insights into the ownership governance effect on the remediation of the two types of control weaknesses that have different rigor, auditability (more or less auditable), and effects (pervasive or non-pervasive) on financial reporting quality. Fourth, the study further enhances one's understanding of several important governance factors that help achieve a sound financial reporting system and restore investors' confidence in the system.
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Volume (Year): 27 (2012)
Issue (Month): 9 (December)
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