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Big Auditors, Private Firms and Accounting Conservatism: Spanish Evidence

  • Manuel Cano-Rodriguez

This paper analyses the relationship between Big Auditors and the conditional and unconditional forms of conservatism. Drawing on a sample of Spanish firms, the current study suggests that despite small incentives for maintaining independence, Big Auditors promote conditional conservatism, thereby increasing the contracting efficiency of their clients' accounting information. The results also indicate, however, that for high levels of litigation and reputation risk, Big Auditors tend to promote unconditional conservatism, which can reduce the quality of financial reports. On this basis, I conclude that in the absence of essential litigation and reputation risk, Big Auditors typically provide higher quality audits than non-Big Auditors do. This differentiation may become subtler with litigation and reputation risk, however, because Big Auditors become overly conservative.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 131-159

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Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:19:y:2010:i:1:p:131-159
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