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Effect of different economic conditions on audit and non-audit fees: Evidence from Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE).
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Extraordinary high fees received by the auditors from their clients during the recent financial crisis have attracted public attention. However, reasons for high fees for audit service are obscure. Many studies have proved the importance of the client size, complexity, risks and the auditor status in determination of audit fees. Another determinant, the non-audit fee, has been intensively debated in the literature. The reason for this is that the audit and non-audit fees are not correlated in the way many researchers have expected. Namely, the vast majority of research has reported a positive association between two services. Many explanations for the phenomenon have been set forward. However, real reasons for such association remain unclear and the consensus between researchers is lacking. The study of the correlation between the two types of expenditures in the Swedish audit environment during a long time period may shed some light on this complex phenomenon. Some evidence suggest that an economic downturn can affect the relationship between audit and non-audit fees and their ratios. Therefore, the recent financial crisis provides an excellent opportunity to examine a possible relationship. Using the data from Middle Cap and Small Cap Swedish companies, this study investigates the relationship between audit and non-audit fees and their ratios during three periods of different economic conditions: favorable 2006 -2007, economic downturn 2008-2009 and post crisis period 2010-2011. In this study I tested a number of hypotheses. Firstly, I investigated the suggestion that the relationship between audit and non-audit fees in Sweden, like in many other countries, is positive. Secondly, I tested the hypothesis that economic fluctuations affect this relationship. Thirdly, I explored my prediction that the economic downturn influences the ratios of audit and non-audit fees. I have shown that the relationship between audit and non-audit services is positive during the whole investigated period. According to these results, the relationship is not affected by different economic conditions. Furthermore, I have found out that the financial crisis affected the audit and non-audit fee ratios. The ratio of the audit fee increased during the crisis and continued to increase during the post-crisis period. The ratio of non-audit fee decreased in the same proportion. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 82 p.
Keyword [en]
Audit fee, non-audit fee, economic downturn
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-56521OAI: diva2:535518
2012-06-04, 304, Samhällsvetarhuset, Biblioteksgränd 6, Umeå, 10:12 (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-06-21 Created: 2012-06-19 Last updated: 2012-06-21Bibliographically approved

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Alexeyeva, Irina
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