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The Relation Between Auditor's Fees for Non-audit Services and Earnings Quality

  • Johnson, Marilyn F.

    (Michigan State U)

  • Nelson, Karen K.

    (Stanford U)

  • Frankel, Richard M.

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Registered author(s):

    We examine the association between the provision of non-audit services and earnings quality. Because of concerns regarding the effect of non-audit services on financial reporting credibility, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently issued revised auditor independence rules requiring firms to disclose in their annual proxy statement the amount of fees paid to auditors for audit and non-audit services. Using data collected from proxy statements filed between February 5, 2001 and June 15, 2001, we present evidence that firms purchasing more non-audit services from their auditor are more likely to just meet or beat analysts' forecasts and to report larger absolute discretionary accruals. However, the purchase of non-audit services is not associated with meeting other earnings benchmarks. We also find that the unexpected component of the non-audit to total fee ratio is negatively associated with stock returns on the filing date. These results are consistent with arguments that the provision of non-audit services strengthens an auditor's economic bond with the client and that investors price this effect.

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    File URL: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/library/RP1696R.pdf
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    Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 1696r.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1696r
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    1. Craswell, Allen T. & Francis, Jere R. & Taylor, Stephen L., 1995. "Auditor brand name reputations and industry specializations," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 297-322, December.
    2. Warfield, Terry D. & Wild, John J. & Wild, Kenneth L., 1995. "Managerial ownership, accounting choices, and informativeness of earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 61-91, July.
    3. Barry, Christopher B. & Brown, Stephen J., 1985. "Differential Information and Security Market Equilibrium," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 407-422, December.
    4. Degeorge, Fran├žois & Patel, U & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1998. "Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds," CEPR Discussion Papers 1790, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. McNichols, Maureen F., 2000. "Research design issues in earnings management studies," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4-5), pages 313-345.
    6. DeAngelo, Linda Elizabeth, 1981. "Auditor size and audit quality," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 183-199, December.
    7. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Skinner, Douglas J., 1994. "Accounting choice in troubled companies," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 113-143, January.
    8. DeFond, Mark L. & Jiambalvo, James, 1994. "Debt covenant violation and manipulation of accruals," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 145-176, January.
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