IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/xrs/sfbmaa/07-59.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Can Auditors Be Independent? - Experimental Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Koch, Christopher

    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Weber, Martin

    () (Lehrstuhl für ABWL, Finanzwirtschaft, insb. Bankbetriebslehre)

  • Wüstemann, Jens

    () (Lehrstuhl für ABWL und Wirtschaftsprüfung/Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

Abstract

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has transformed the institutional environment in the US by making the audit committee responsible for the appointment, compensation and oversight of the auditor. We examine whether this institutional change successfully resolves the alleged problem of an unconscious favoring of the management (Bazerman et al. 1997, 2002, 2006) by changing the effects of auditors’ economic incentives and psychological pressure. In our experimental design, we make use of the particular features of the German institutional setting as it enables us to manipulate the client of the auditor in a realistic and clear-cut way. 72 German auditors with at least two years of job experience participated in our experiment. Following Turner (2001), we distinguish in our analyses between belief tasks (e.g. evidence evaluation) and action tasks (e.g. audit opinion). Our findings imply that certain institutional features seem to be helpful in ensuring auditor independence. First, we find that auditors demonstrate professional scepticism in belief tasks. This seems to counteract any potentially negative effect of the acceptability heuristic in actions tasks. Second, experience helped auditors in coping with psychological pressure. Third, making the auditor accountable to a supervisory board was helpful in reducing the risk that financial considerations would impair auditor independence.

Suggested Citation

  • Koch, Christopher & Weber, Martin & Wüstemann, Jens, 2007. "Can Auditors Be Independent? - Experimental Evidence," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-59, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-59
    Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged. We thank the two big audit firms that provided participants for our
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sfb504.uni-mannheim.de/publications/dp07-59.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Abdel-khalik, A. Rashad, 2002. "Reforming corporate governance post Enron: Shareholders' Board of Trustees and the auditor," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 97-103.
    2. Rick Antle & Elizabeth Gordon & Ganapathi Narayanamoorthy & Ling Zhou, 2006. "The joint determination of audit fees, non-audit fees, and abnormal accruals," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 235-266, November.
    3. Bonner, Se & Lewis, Bl, 1990. "Determinants Of Auditor Expertise," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28, pages 1-20.
    4. Brown, CE & Peecher, ME & Solomon, I, 1999. "Auditors' hypothesis testing in diagnostic inference tasks," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 1-26.
    5. Mark L. DeFond & K. Raghunandan & K.R. Subramanyam, 2002. "Do Non–Audit Service Fees Impair Auditor Independence? Evidence from Going Concern Audit Opinions," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 1247-1274, September.
    6. 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.
    7. Gibbins, M & Newton, Jd, 1994. "An Empirical Exploration Of Complex Accountability In Public Accounting," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 165-186.
    8. Rich, J. S. & Solomon, I. & Trotman, K. T., 1997. "The audit review process: A characterization from the persuasion perspective," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 481-505, July.
    9. Paul K. Chaney & Kirk L. Philipich, 2002. "Shredded Reputation: The Cost of Audit Failure," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 1221-1245, September.
    10. Kennedy, J & Kleinmuntz, DN & Peecher, ME, 1997. "Determinants of the justifiability of performance in ill-structured audit tasks," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35, pages 105-123.
    11. Johnson, Marilyn F. & Nelson, Karen K. & Frankel, Richard M., 2002. "The Relation Between Auditor's Fees for Non-audit Services and Earnings Quality," Research Papers 1696r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    12. Tan, HT & Libby, R, 1997. "Tacit managerial versus technical knowledge as determinants of audit expertise in the field," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(1), pages 97-113.
    13. David F. Larcker & Scott A. Richardson, 2004. "Fees Paid to Audit Firms, Accrual Choices, and Corporate Governance," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 625-658, June.
    14. Peecher, ME, 1996. "The influence of auditors' justification processes on their decisions: A cognitive model and experimental evidence," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 125-140.
    15. Rick Antle & Elizabeth Gordon & Ganapathi Narayanamoorthy & Ling Zhou, 2002. "The Joint Determination of Audit Fees, Non-Audit Fees, and Abnormal Accruals," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2502, Yale School of Management, revised 02 May 2006.
    16. Salterio, S. & Koonce, L., 1997. "The persuasiveness of audit evidence: The case of accounting policy decisions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 573-587, August.
    17. Lord, Alan T. & Todd DeZoort, F., 2001. "The impact of commitment and moral reasoning on auditors' responses to social influence pressure," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 215-235, April.
    18. DeAngelo, Linda Elizabeth, 1981. "Auditor independence, `low balling', and disclosure regulation," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 113-127, August.
    19. Antle, R & Nalebuff, B, 1991. "Conservatism And Auditor-Client Negotiations," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29, pages 31-54.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Tünde Barabás, 2013. "On the Independence of Auditors, with Special Regard to the Financial Sector," Public Finance Quarterly, State Audit Office of Hungary, vol. 58(2), pages 184-198.
    2. Florian Hoos & Jorien Louise Pruijssers & Michel W. Lander, 2019. "Who’s Watching? Accountability in Different Audit Regimes and the Effects on Auditors’ Professional Skepticism," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 156(2), pages 563-575, May.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Peecher, Mark E. & Solomon, Ira & Trotman, Ken T., 2013. "An accountability framework for financial statement auditors and related research questions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 596-620.
    2. DeFond, Mark & Zhang, Jieying, 2014. "A review of archival auditing research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 275-326.
    3. Garcia-Blandon, Josep & Argiles-Bosch, Josep Maria & Castillo-Merino, David & Martinez-Blasco, Monica, 2017. "An Assessment of the Provisions of Regulation (EU) No 537/2014 on Non-audit Services and Audit Firm Tenure: Evidence from Spain," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 251-261.
    4. Alzoubi, Ebraheem Saleem Salem, 2018. "Audit quality, debt financing, and earnings management: Evidence from Jordan," Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 69-84.
    5. Knechel, W. Robert & Thomas, Edward & Driskill, Matthew, 2020. "Understanding financial auditing from a service perspective," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    6. Anastasia Kraft & Kerstin Lopatta, 2016. "Auditor fees, discretionary book-tax differences, and tax avoidance," International Journal of Economics and Accounting, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(2), pages 127-155.
    7. Anandarajan, Asokan & Kleinman, Gary & Palmon, Dan, 2012. "Is non-audit services a suitable proxy for auditor independence in the post-SOX period?," Research in Accounting Regulation, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 105-111.
    8. Domenico Campa & Ray Donnelly, 2016. "Non-audit services provided to audit clients, independence of mind and independence in appearance: latest evidence from large UK listed companies," Accounting and Business Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(4), pages 422-449, June.
    9. Svanberg, Jan & Öhman, Peter & Neidermeyer, Presha E., 2019. "Auditor objectivity as a function of auditor negotiation self-efficacy beliefs," Advances in accounting, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 121-131.
    10. Srinivasan Krishnamurthy & Jian Zhou & Nan Zhou, 2006. "Auditor Reputation, Auditor Independence, and the Stock†Market Impact of Andersen's Indictment on Its Client Firms," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 23(2), pages 465-490, June.
    11. Hun†Tong Tan & Karim Jamal, 2006. "Managing Perceptions of Technical Competence: How Well Do Auditors Know How Others View Them?," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 23(3), pages 761-787, September.
    12. Barnes, Paul, 2013. "The effects on financial statements of the litigation cost rule in a civil action for negligence against the auditor," Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 170-182.
    13. Ray Ball, 2009. "Market and Political/Regulatory Perspectives on the Recent Accounting Scandals," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 277-323, May.
    14. Inder K. Khurana & K. K. Raman, 2006. "Do Investors Care about the Auditor's Economic Dependence on the Client?," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 23(4), pages 977-1016, December.
    15. Tobias Svanstr�m, 2013. "Non-audit Services and Audit Quality: Evidence from Private Firms," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 337-366, June.
    16. Leventis, Stergios & Hasan, Iftekhar & Dedoulis, Emmanouil, 2013. "The cost of sin: The effect of social norms on audit pricing," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 152-165.
    17. Silvia Ferramosca & Giulio Greco & Marco Allegrini, 2017. "External audit and goodwill write-off," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 21(4), pages 907-934, December.
    18. Bernard Raffournier & Alain Schatt, 2011. "La relation entre honoraires d'audit et honoraires de conseil des auditeurs dans un contexte post-SOX : Le cas suisse," Post-Print hal-00650561, HAL.
    19. Bum†Jin Park, 2017. "Auditors’ Economic Incentives and the Sensitivity of Managerial Pay to Accounting Performance," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 27(4), pages 382-399, December.
    20. Paul J. Beck & Martin G. H. Wu, 2006. "Learning by Doing and Audit Quality," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • M42 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Auditing
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-59. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Carsten Schmidt) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Carsten Schmidt to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/sfmande.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.