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Essays on Audit Fees and the Joint Provision of Audit and Non-Audit Services
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5804-9454
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the factors affecting audit and non-audit fees and the effects of the joint provision of audit and non-audit services on auditing.

The first essay focuses on environmental factors. Using data for Swedish listed companies over a six year span, including pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis periods, the essay investigates whether changing economic conditions affect the level of fees paid for audit and non-audit services. The finding suggests that auditors increase their risk premium for auditing during a financial crisis andtend to charge higher audit fees as a response to lower risk levels in the post-crisis period. On the other hand, a significant reduction in non-audit fees suggests that companies are less willing to invest in consulting services during thecrisis and post-crisis periods.

The second essay also studies the effects of environmental factors on audit pricing. Using data for financial institutions in 24 European countries, the study examines whether the level of effort spent on the evaluation of fair values is higher for more uncertain fair values.The result suggests that an increasing level of complexity and risk requires greater audit effort. Furthermore, the results showthat the strength of a country’s institutional setting is positively associated with the effort spent on the evaluation of high uncertainty fair value estimates. The finding implies that auditors spend more effort in stronger regulated countries, possibly due to higher potential litigation costs.

The third essay focuses on the factors related to an individual audit partner. Based on the data of publicly listed Swedish companies, it investigates whether partner special competencies are reflected in the prices charged for auditing. The findings show that partner industry expertise and client-specific expertise are associated with higher audit fees. A further finding isthat female partners are considerably under-represented among specialists. However,the under-representation of females among higher qualified partners does not seem to negatively affect their possibilities to earn higher fees.

The fourth essay investigates how the joint provision of audit and non-audit services affects perceived knowledge spillover and audit efficiency. The essay makesuse of survey data from a large sample of Swedish auditors and finds that the levels of communication and trust are positively associated with knowledge spillover. The result further suggests that the information gained from the provision of non-audit services can reduce auditors’ effort (time) spent on different audit procedures, thereby increasing audit efficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2017. , 58 p.
Series
Studier i företagsekonomi. Serie B, ISSN 0346-8291 ; 99
Keyword [en]
audit fees, non-audit fees, crisis, fair value measurement, banking industry, engagement partner, industry expertise, public company expertise, tenure, gender, non-audit services, knowledge spillover, audit efficiency
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141463ISBN: 978-91-7601-782-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-141463DiVA: diva2:1154899
Public defence
2017-12-01, S213h, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-09 Created: 2017-11-06 Last updated: 2017-11-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The impact of the global financial crisis on audit and non-audit fees: evidence from Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of the global financial crisis on audit and non-audit fees: evidence from Sweden
2015 (English)In: Managerial Auditing Journal, ISSN 0268-6902, E-ISSN 1758-7735, Vol. 30, no 4-5, 302-323 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The paper aims to investigate audit and non-audit fees during the global financial crisis (GFC) in an environment that is relatively sparsely regulated with regard to the provision of non-audit services.

Design/methodology/approach: Audit and non-audit fees were studied during pre-GFC (2006-2007), GFC (2008-2009) and post-GFC (2010-2011) periods.

Findings: During the GFC, Swedish companies benefited from an increase in sales and total assets, although return on assets decreased. In this setting, the auditors charged higher audit fees compared with the pre-GFC period, despite the absence of increased audit reporting lags. A significant increase in audit fees continued during the post-crisis periods with auditors paying more attention to companies’ leverage and whether they report losses. At the same time, the companies spent less on non-audit services.

Research limitations/implications: This study is limited to companies from Sweden, which was less affected by the GFC.

Practical implications: GFC auditors are able to charge higher audit fees to public companies including those that are well-performing during financial crises, and they are also able to increase the audit fees in the post-crisis period. This implies that auditors put in extra audit effort to compensate for higher risk, or that they are good at negotiating prices with their clients. However, non-audit fees decreased during the same period, implying that the demand for these services drops under financial instability.

Originality/value: The study highlights auditors’ behavior in the liberal economic environment and it studies both audit fees and non-audit fees before GFC, during GFC and after the GFC. The GFC appears to have provided audit firms the opportunity to extract higher audit fees. Our findings are of interest to managers, auditors and regulators.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2015
Keyword
Audit fees, Global financial crisis, Non-audit fees
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-103808 (URN)10.1108/MAJ-04-2014-1025 (DOI)000356444400001 ()
Available from: 2015-06-01 Created: 2015-06-01 Last updated: 2017-11-07Bibliographically approved
2. The Impact of Fair Value Measurement on Audit Fees: Evidence from Financial Institutions in 24 European Countries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Impact of Fair Value Measurement on Audit Fees: Evidence from Financial Institutions in 24 European Countries
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Auditing, ISSN 1090-6738, E-ISSN 1099-1123, Vol. 20, no 3, 255-266 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the study is to investigate the relationship between fair value measurement and audit fees. Using a sample of 177 banks from 24 European countries over the period 2008–13, we find that high uncertainty fair value assets are positively related to audit fees. The result is consistent with the suggestion that more complex estimates require greater audit effort. To provide more insight into the impact of fair value measurement on audit fees, we examine this relation under institutional settings with different strength of regulations. The results suggest that the strength of a country's institutional setting is positively related to effort spent on evaluation of higher uncertainty fair value inputs. The finding is consistent with the prediction that auditors expend more effort in more strongly regulated settings due to higher potential litigation costs. Finally, we find that the total proportion of fair-valued assets does not affect audit fees. The result can be attributed to the composition of the total proportion of fair-valued assets which is dominated by low uncertainty (Level 1) inputs.

Keyword
Audit fees, banking industry, fair value measurement, IFRS 7V
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-126697 (URN)10.1111/ijau.12075 (DOI)000391138400005 ()
Available from: 2016-10-13 Created: 2016-10-13 Last updated: 2017-11-06Bibliographically approved
3. Individual Auditor Competencies and the Pricing of Audit Services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Individual Auditor Competencies and the Pricing of Audit Services
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study examines whether partner special competencies, such as industry expertise, public company expertise and client-specific expertise, are associated with a fee premium. It further investigates whether the association between partner competencies and audit fees is dependent on gender. Using a sample of 225 public Swedish companies audited from 2006-2015 (1461 firm-years) by 182 partners affiliated to Big 4 audit firms, partner industry expertise and client-specific expertise are found to be associated with higher audit fees. A further finding is that partners with special competencies are dominantly men. However, male public company specialists receive significantly lower audit fees than their female counterparts. This finding suggests that female auditors who are public company experts may have exceptional track records, which can strengthen their powers when negotiating audit price. Taken together, the results indicate that partner special competence is valued by clients.

Keyword
audit fees, industry expertise, public company expertise, tenure, engagement partner, gender
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141458 (URN)
Available from: 2017-11-06 Created: 2017-11-06 Last updated: 2017-11-07
4. Knowledge Spillover and Audit Efficiency: Evidence from the Joint Provision of Audit and Non-Audit Services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowledge Spillover and Audit Efficiency: Evidence from the Joint Provision of Audit and Non-Audit Services
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to provide a deeper insight into the effects of the joint provision of audit and non-audit services. The study investigates how the provision of non-audit services affects knowledge spillover and audit efficiency. In particular, we focus on the role of communication with and trust in colleagues providing non-audit services in knowledge transfer. Using survey data from a large sample of auditors, we show that the levels of communication and trust are positively associated with perceived knowledge spillover. Furthermore, these factors are essential for audit efficiency, suggesting that the information gained from the provision of non-audit services can reduce auditors’ effort (time) spent on different audit procedures. Further, we distinguish between different types of audit efficiency related to parts of the audit process and highlight the essential factors for each particular type. 

Keyword
non-audit services, knowledge spillover, communication, trust, audit efficiency
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141461 (URN)
Available from: 2017-11-06 Created: 2017-11-06 Last updated: 2017-11-07

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