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Benefits and Costs of Auditor's Assurance: Evidence from the Review of Quarterly Financial Statements

  • Jean Bédard

    ()

    (Université Laval.)

  • Lucie Courteau

    ()

    (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, School of Economics and Management.)

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    Even though there is a worldwide consensus as to the necessity of an audit of annual financial statements for public companies, there is divergence of views as to the review of interim financial statements. While some jurisdictions make it mandatory (e.g., Australia, France, US), others allow the review without requiring it (e.g., Canada, UK). Using a sample of companies listed in Canada, we examine the costs associated with these reviews and the benefits they generate in terms of improvement in the quality of interim financial statements for the years 2004 and 2005. Controlling for the decision to purchase the reviews, we find that audit fees are 18 percent higher for firms with interim reviews and, contrary to many regulators’ assumption, we find no evidence that this cost increase is proportionally higher for smaller firms. Regarding the benefits of interim reviews, we find no significant association between either accruals- or non accruals-based measures of earnings management and the fact that the interim statements are reviewed by the auditor, neither in the interim reports nor in those of the fourth quarter. The results suggest that auditors’ involvement with interim reports may not be as effective as previously thought at controlling the quality of interim financial statements.

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    File URL: http://pro1.unibz.it/projects/economics/repec/bemps11.pdf
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    Paper provided by School of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen in its series BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series with number BEMPS11.

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    Length: 55 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bzn:wpaper:bemps11
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    1. Dechow, Patricia & Ge, Weili & Schrand, Catherine, 2010. "Understanding earnings quality: A review of the proxies, their determinants and their consequences," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 344-401, December.
    2. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Rajgopal, Shiva, 2005. "The economic implications of corporate financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-3), pages 3-73, December.
    3. Lei Chen & Elizabeth Carson & Roger Simnett, 2007. "Impact of stakeholder characteristics on voluntary dissemination of interim information and communication of its level of assurance," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 47(4), pages 667-691.
    4. Jacob, John & Jorgensen, Bjorn N., 2007. "Earnings management and accounting income aggregation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2-3), pages 369-390, July.
    5. Cindy Durtschi & Peter Easton, 2005. "Earnings Management? The Shapes of the Frequency Distributions of Earnings Metrics Are Not Evidence Ipso Facto," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(4), pages 557-592, 09.
    6. Kerstein, Joseph & Rai, Atul, 2007. "Intra-year shifts in the earnings distribution and their implications for earnings management," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 399-419, December.
    7. Ettredge, Mike & Simon, Dan & Smith, David & Stone, Mary, 1994. "Why do companies purchase timely quarterly reviews?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 131-155, September.
    8. Lawrence D. Brown & Arianna Spina Pinello, 2007. "To What Extent Does the Financial Reporting Process Curb Earnings Surprise Games?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(5), pages 947-981, December.
    9. Clarkson, Peter M. & Simunic, Dan A., 1994. "The association between audit quality, retained ownership, and firm-specific risk in U.S. vs. Canadian IPO markets," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 207-228, January.
    10. Kothari, S.P. & Leone, Andrew J. & Wasley, Charles E., 2005. "Performance matched discretionary accrual measures," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 163-197, February.
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