Audit Quality and Performance of Banks Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (2005-2016)

Audit Quality and Performance of Banks Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (2005-2016)


Audit Quality and Performance of Banks Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (2005-2016)


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Abstract on Audit Quality and Performance of Banks Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (2005-2016)

The study ascertained the relationship between audit quality and return on asset of commercial banks in Nigeria; determined the effect of audit quality and return on asset of commercial banks in Nigeria; the relationship between audit committee effectiveness and organizational performance of commercial banks in Nigeria, in order to examine the impact of audit quality on organizational performance. The study employed secondary data which were obtained from the annual reports of selected quoted companies on the Nigeria stock exchange. A sample of sixteen (16) commercial banks were purposively selected based on the availability of information. Model was formed to test the data obtained using correlation research design with the aid of E-view econometrics package. The result showed that the F-statistic of 1.614771 is significant at 5 percent level as the probability value estimate of 0.036862 has indicated. The F-statistics shows that Audit committee, Audit committee expertise, Audit committee frequent meeting, Audit committee Size, Audit fee, Audit period, and firm size are jointly significant in explaining returns on assets (dependent variable). The coefficient of the independent variables, that is Audit committee, Audit committee expertise, Audit committee frequent meeting, Audit committee Size, Audit fee, Audit period, and firm size for instance are all positive except for Audit fee and Audit period, these positive values show that a unit increase in these variables for instance will increase returns on assets by 11.79%, 2.24%, 0.22%,72.50% and 17.13% respectively in the short run, Audit fee and Audit period which has negative coefficients imply that a unit increase in these variables for instance will reduce return on assets by 3.18 % and 4.68% respectively. The study concluded that adequate audit quality is essential as it has a direct impact on the performance of commercial banks in Nigeria, quality audit reduces the agency cost and it enhances the credibility of financial statement which has a positive impact on the performance of commercial banks in Nigeria.


Chapter One of Audit Quality and Performance of Banks Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (2005-2016)


Background to the Study

Increased concerns regarding corporate accountability in various developed nations have been associated with the need for appropriate audit which involves risk management and internal control systems (Beekes & Brown, 2006). The impact of audit quality on organizational performance has recently received attention from various researches like Chang, Dasgupta and Hilary, (2009), Bhatia, Ali, Balachandran and Jurdi(2015), Ilaboya & Ohiokha (2014). Bhatia (2015) examined the relationship between audit quality and firm’s financial decisions using audit fees as proxy and found out that there is a positive relationship between audit fees and corporate financial decisions. Chang (2009) also examined the effect of auditor choice on financial decision that firms take and found out there exist a negative relationship between the size of the audit company and debt financial choices the firms make.(Ilaboya, 2014) indicates that there’s a positive relationship between firm size, audit tenure and audit quality. According to them, those firms audited, use equity issue more than they use debt to finance their project. This is because potential and existing investors have confidence in the audited financial statements and this makes them invest more in the company. Other studies have however yielded mixed results.

Audit quality plays an important role in maintaining an efficient working environment, and independent quality audit underpins confidence in the credibility and integrity of organizational performance which is essential for well-functioning organizations and enhance organizational performance (Musa & Shehu 2014). The societal role of auditors should be a key contribution to organizational performance, in terms of reducing the risks of significant misstatements and by ensuring that the financial statements are elaborated according to preset rules and regulations (Heil, 2012). Internal financial statement users such as management, audit committees and board of directors have an interest in quality audits, for example; to help reduce the cost of capital (ISB, 2000; Miettinen, 2011).Lower risks on misstatements increase confidence in capital markets, which in turn lowers the cost of capital for firms (Heil, 2012). Audit quality is subject to many direct and indirect influences. In cycle with the stakeholder theory (Khan, 2006), perceptions of audit quality vary amongst stakeholders depending on their level of direct involvement in audits and on the perspective through which they assess audit quality. Audit quality is recognized to influence financial reporting and strongly impact on investors’ confidence (Levitt, 2008). Conventionally, external auditors lay critical and highly challenging roles in assuring the credibility of organizations performance. Audit quality will be measured using: audit committee, audit period, audit fees, and firm size.

Financial performance of organizations may be calculated from return on investment perspective, and measured by several indicators which include return on asset (ROA), return on equity (ROE), and return on investment (ROI). (Mohd, 2013; Omar2013; Sim Chia Hua2016).Accordingto contracting theory the relationship between management control systems and firm performance depends on the costs of writing and enforcing contracts which may vary depending on firm characteristics (Watts &Zimmerman 1986).The societal role of auditors should be a key contribution to financial performance, in terms of reducing the risks of significant misstatements and by ensuring that the financial statements are elaborated according to preset rules and regulations. Lower risks on misstatements increase confidence in capital markets, which in turn lowers the cost of capital for firms (Heil, 2012; Watts and Zimmerman, 1986).For the purpose of this study, return on asset will be adopted to measure organizational performance.

Audit quality shows positively effect of both performance indicators, this provides that external audit provides the monitoring device to reduce information asymmetry between the managers and shareholders and also a positive relationship between firm size, audit tenure and audit quality. Audit quality has a significant positive impact on business financial success, and to also determine whether corporate financial performance may be influenced by firm practices in financial reporting standards (FRS), audit quality as well as transparency and disclosure requirements in their annual reports (Sim&Daw, 2016; Ilaboya& Ohioka, 2014). This study is conducted to examine the impact of audit quality on organizational performance.

Statement of the Problem

Some studies indicate that high-quality audit services improve the confidence of investors in financial statements and increases investment possibilities (Lin and Liu, 2009). Thus, high-quality auditing is particularly important for companies that are frequently involved in raising funds, such as financial institutions. accordingly, other studies have also found that a firms’ demand for high-quality audit services is related to its financing needs (Knechel, 2008). While some studies are of the opinion that high quality audit is associated with lower cost of capital (Pittman and Fortin, 2004; Hartarska, 2009)

Some studies showed that audit quality impact positively on firms’ performance (Mohd,2013; Heil,2012; Miettinen,2011; Zureigat,2010; Musa and Shehu,2014; Sim,2014; Tarak,2016; Malai,2015). Mohd,2013 examined the effect of audit quality on company performance of companies in Malaysia, and showed a positive impact of audit quality on companies’ performance in Malaysia. (Heil, 2012; Miettinen,2007) examined the impact of audit quality on financial performance of firms, they found out that audit quality has a positive impact on financial performance of organization.Zureigat (2010), tried to examine the effect of financial performance among Jordanian listed firms on audit quality, and found out that there’sa significant positive relationship between audit quality and financial structure.Musa and Shehu (2014) studied the impact of audit quality and financial performance on quoted cement firms in Nigeria, and they found out that audit. quality has a positive influence on the financial performance of quoted cement firms in Nigeria. Sim (2014), examined howfinancial performance of construction firms listed on Bursa Malaysia stock exchange may be influenced by a good audit quality, and they confirmed that a good audit quality has a positive influence on construction firms in Malaysia.Tarak (2016), examined the impact of audit quality on the accounting profits on firms in Tunisia, and found out that audit quality has a significant positive influence on accounting profit of firms in Tunisia.Malai (2015), observed the effectiveness of audit quality on financial reporting quality of listed companies in Thailand, and found out that audit quality has a positive impact on financial reporting quality of companies in Thailand.

      However, some studies opposed the above proposition, showing that audit quality has a negative impact on financial performanceof firms.(Obal and Bassarial,2015; Watts and Zimmerman,1986; Violet and Jane,2011; Morteza,2014;Copley and Doucet,1993;Carcello and Nagy,2004).Obal and Bassarial (2015), carried out a study on the dimensions of audit quality and their influence on the performance of local governments in Nigeria, and found out that audit quality has a negative impact on the performance of local governments in Nigeria.Watts and Zimmerman (1983) found that the longer the auditor tenure, the more dependence on clients. Auditor’s objectivity and independence will be destroyed and hence, audit quality reduces.(Violet& Jane, 2011), examined the relationship between audit fees as a proxy for auditor independence and audit quality of firms in New Zealand, their study discovered that the performance of firms is negatively associated with audit quality. Morteza (2014), asserted the relationship between audit quality and financial performance of companies in Iran, and found out that audit quality has a negative impact on financial performance. Copley and Doucet (1993) discoursed that the longer the period of engagement, the higher the risk of lower audit quality. Carcello and Nagy (2004) explored the association of changing the auditor and audit quality from the point of view of fraudulent reporting.

From clear examination, it can be observed that most studies conducted on the impact of audit quality on performance of firms had been done within the concentrated numbers of five years. Therefore, for the purpose of this study,information will be gathered from commercial banks quoted on the Nigeria Stock Exchange with available information for the period of 13 years ranging from 2005 to 2016.

Research Questions

Against this backdrop, the following research questions are raised

        i.            What is the relationship between audit quality and return on asset of commercial banks in Nigeria?

      ii.            What is the effect of audit quality on return on asset of commercial banks in Nigeria?

    iii.            What is the relationship between audit committee effectiveness and performance of banks in Nigeria?

Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is impact of audit quality on organizational performance to examine the impact of audit quality on organization performance. Specifically, the objectives of the study are to;

i.                    ascertain the relationship between audit quality and return on asset commercial of banks in Nigeria.

ii.                  determine the effect of audit quality on return n asset of commercial banks in Nigeria.

iii.                examine the relationship between audit committee effectiveness and performance of banks in Nigeria.

Significance of the Study

                Research has been carried out on impact of audit quality on organizational performance both in and outside Nigeria. It has been observed that audit quality showed both positive and negative impact on the performance of organizations. This study will therefore be of great importance to commercial banks in Nigeria it will help them in knowing the impact of audit quality on their performance, to what extent is its effect and it impact on Return of Asset. It will also be of great importance to existing and potential shareholders to enable them understand that a good organization performance can be achieved through quality audits and its influence on decisions taken by firms.

            It will also be beneficial to managers to understand the importance of credible financial statements in financial decisions taken by the firms. It would also improve the confidence of investors in financing reporting and increase fund raising possibilities.

Scope of the Study

This study covers commercial banks listed on the Nigerian stock exchange (NSE). As at 2017, 22 commercial banks were listed on the Nigerian stock exchange, out of which 15 commercial banks will be selected for this study. This study will consider commercial banks which have available data from the year 2005-2016. The annual report of the selected companies will be analyzed to derive the needed information for the purpose of this research.

Chapter Two of Audit Quality and Performance of Banks Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (2005-2016)




According to De Angelo (1981), audit quality is market-assessed joint probability that a given auditor will both discover a breach in the client accounting system and report the breach. Jackson, Moldrich & Roebuck (2008) view the quality of audits from actual and perceived quality. Titman and Trueman (1986) see audit quality as the accuracy of the information reported by auditors. A large body of accounting research investigates the drivers and consequences of audit quality. In other words, audit quality is a function of technical capability of the auditor and ability to uphold standards. PCAOB re-emphasizes a classic academic definition of audit quality as the market assessed joint probability that a given auditor will both discover a breach in the client’s accounting system, and report the breach. According to Memi and Çetenak the technical capability of auditors or the probability to uncover errors and going concern breaches is invariant across auditors. Prior researches have argued that the size of the firm or brand name of audit firms is proportional to audit quality. Several other variables such as economic dependence, auditor’s term, industry expertise, audit fees, reputation and cost of capital have also been used as measures audit quality. Arising from the afore-mentioned definition, an audit failure happens (lack of audit quality) when an auditor fails to uncover material errors and fraud that led a client’s financial statements not to reflect a true and fair view. PCAOB further identified more indicators or determinants of audit quality. These include competence and experience of audit personnel, whether or not the audit is conducted in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), audit resources, the strength of the clients internal control system, compliance with independence requirements, investment in infrastructure supporting audit quality, audit firm’s internal quality review and industry expertise.

Audit quality minimizes risks, improves control issues, reduces monitoring cost, reduces earnings management, mitigates fraud risks and minimizes other opportunistic behaviours within an organization (Ege, 2015; Prawitt, 2009). However, Davidson, Goodwin-Stewart, and Kent (2005) found no evidence that the presence of audit could be associated with lower earnings management. Also, Ege (2015) suggest that if managers have control over audit quality, opportunistic behaviours can go on unabated. This implies that an organization may have an audit function, yet opportunistic behaviours may not be curtailed especially where aspects of the function can be contained by management. Onatuyeh and Aniefor (2013) examined the role of effective audit in the management and accountability of the public sector using 245 respondents from audit departments of ministries and government agencies in Edo state in Nigeria. Although their study found some evidence that effective audit promotes accountability, their measure of effective audit leaves much to be desired as no reliability or previous test of their instrument was reported. Also, the analysis was merely descriptive as no relationship was tested. Similarly, a study by Ebimobowei and Kereotu (2011) in two southern states of Nigeria using 96 auditors in state ministries found widespread governance failures resulting from audit not performing its role. Their study ignored the quality of audit in arriving at their conclusion as the quality of audit is important both for role performance and contribution to organizational performance. Baltaci and Yilmaz (2006) acknowledged the limited number of studies on audit quality in the public sector especially at the local government level and called for more research. Furthermore, a close look at audit quality shows the similarity of the concept with that of audit effectiveness.

            According to Morteza, (2014) In proposing a definition of audit quality, he seek to base it on concepts that are already widely accepted, rather than trying to break new conceptual ground. He used some working definition on a common understanding of quality used in business endeavours. For purposes of discussion, he leveraged the definition of a customer stated within Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 8 as, “existing and potential investors, lenders, and other creditors.” He noted that the definition focuses on deliverables and results, rather than process or inputs. While focusing International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences Vol. 21 39 on process is possible (e.g., audit quality is equal to compliance with auditing standards), the staff believes it is more intuitive to define audit quality in terms of results. He based the audit committees’, investors’, lenders’, and other creditors’ needs for audit services on the scope of deliverables currently required in audits of US public companies. As a result, the definition is practical, and may not meet all investors’, lenders’, and other creditors’ needs for audit services. He decided to include audit committee communications in the definition even though it is not a deliverable investors, lenders, or other creditors receive directly. His logic is that audit committees \advance investors’ interests by overseeing external auditors, and discussions with audit committees are critical to ensuring audit quality.


Nigeria being a British colony, its accounting and auditing characteristics can be linked to the traditional British Bookkeeping. The most significant feature of the traditional British bookkeeping audit is that it was closely bound up with also doing the client’s accounting. According to Jones (1981), accounting researchers have been aware of the extent of the practice and its longevity. However, its full implications have been largely overlooked by historians, perhaps because the Nigeria Companies Acts (CAMA, 1990, as amended). The Companies and Allied Matters Act (1990 – CAMA) was not a major influence of Audit in Nigeria. The CAMA laid down the duties of the auditor but never made any stipulation as to how the audit should be conducted. Anlin (2006) identified that as social demand for audit quality was growing strong, split of social division of labor made audit quality function independent and considerable expertise and experience were accumulated in the course of development of audit profession, experience and knowledge were created in their wake.A quality audit involves a comprehensive understanding of the key risks that could impact the financial statements, and astutely translating that understanding into an effective audit plan to address those risks. These risks go well beyond the numbers—they include risks specific to each company’s business, industry, management team, IT system, and control structure. The quality of the audit is a result of the performance of the audit team in planning and executing the audit and the system of quality control of the audit firm as a whole.

Perception of audit quality can depend very much on whose eyes one looks through. Users, auditors, regulators and other stakeholders in the financial reporting process may have very different views as to what constitutes audit quality, which will influence the type of indicators one might use to assess audit quality. The production of a quality audit report is perceived to prompt confidence in financial reports by the users of those reports. Investors in particular tend to place better trust in financial statements that are audited; as the expected independence of the auditor boosts the assurance that important investment decisions can be made on the thrust of those statements. The increased confidence of these set of financial users tend to attract the inflow of capital which has the long-run effect of creating growth and development in the business environment (Adeyemi & Fagbemi, 2010). These financial statements ordinarily do not show the true state of affairs and financial position of the organization and hence, could jeopardize the decisions of prospective investors. The quality of audits and audit opinions expressed on financial reports are crucial to achieving a sustained investor’s confidence. Independent auditors play a vital role in enhancing the reliability of financial information by attesting to the trustworthiness of the financial statements. However, the study of Ghosh & Moon (2005) noted that a number of accounting and reporting irregularities and frauds in the last one decade have led to intense scrutiny of corporate governance frameworks and drove intense debate about issues such as financial statement audit, audit approach and audit quality.


One of the relevance of external financial reporting is to reduce information asymmetries and agency conflicts between the firm and its various stakeholders (Healy and Palepu, 2001; Hope, 2008). The degree to which information asymmetries are reduced by financial reports is crucially dependent on the quality of these financial reports; the purpose of an audit is to improve financial reporting quality (Boone, 2010). DeAngelo (1981) defines audit quality as the joint probability that an auditor will detect and report a material misstatement. However, in addition to the direct effects of audit quality on accounting trustworthiness, indirect effects of audit quality are also observed; these effects are mediated by the associations between audit quality and other mechanisms of corporate governance (O‟Sullivan, 2000; Carcello et al., 2002; Abbott et al., 2003; Knechel and Willekens, 2006).

It is generally assumed that firms choose their own levels of audit quality through their selection of an auditor. However, as Lin and Liu (2009) state that effective audit can be adopted only when the benefits of imposing the monitoring device (reduced agency costs or lowered capital raising costs) outweigh the costs of using the device (forfeited benefits stemmed from governance constraints) (Lin and Liu, 2009). The main benefit of high quality audit is often considered to be the increased potential to raise funds that results from auditing-related reductions in information asymmetries (Hartarska, 2009; Dechows, 2010; Desender, 2010). Empirically, several studies have reported that audit quality is generally relevant to the investment decisions that are made by investors and other participants in capital markets (Broye & Weill, 2008; Lin et al., 2009; Pittman & Fortin, 2004). Furthermore, consistent with a published finding that foreign owners require more credible financial statements to reduce agency costs (Guedhami, 2009), Leuz. (2009) find that foreigners avoid investments in poorly governed firms. Audit quality is considered to be the place of substantive testing and the need to be verified. It is considerable to follow the set of rules. It mentions maximum of the costs so that people can have prior intimation about the auditing. However, lower cost of capital can reduce information that is associated with the financial statements that has lower interest rate and return on their assets. Sometimes, this activity provides facilitated settlements and claims of a partner. By performing the process of auditing frauds and errors can be rectified. The relevance of audit quality makes organizations have access to capital market in the sense that public has to remain under security exchanges and the requirements given under it. Once the audit is done, the account that are audited are easily accepted by the organization. Just as the present proves, it is clear that the changes that took place in the global economy over the past few years have not passed without consequences in our country especially in organizations. These must be able to cope with an increasing number of challenges arising from the business environment, thus increasing their ability to adapt. Few Romanian enterprises are aware of the fact that their management represents the make or break factor in diminishing or even eliminating the unfavorable effects of the crisis (Verboncu & Purcaru, 2009). In the current economic and financial crisis knowing the factors that generate success and the ways in which it can be measured has a critical importance. Performance indicators are designed to provide information on the quality of processes performed within an organization offering support to achieve the objectives on time and within a predetermined budget. But, to fulfill this role is necessary to understand their full and proper use. No business scenario can guarantee economic stability, and the ability to control organizational performance during a financial crisis becomes more difficult. An organization in difficulty must be able to identify those measures that enable it to respond effectively to new problems to adapt as quickly as possible to changes in the business environment. The results obtained in this study highlight the practices that relate significantly with organizational performance with a special interest on the performance measurement process and its impact on organizational performance.


Organizations have an important role in our daily lives and therefore, successful organizations represent a key ingredient for developing nations. Thus, many economists consider organizations and institutions similar to an engine in determining the economic, social and political progress. Continuous performance is the focus of any organization because only through performance organizations are able to grow and progress. Thus, organizational performance is one of the most important variables in the management research and arguably the most important indicator of the organizational performance. Although the concept of organizational performance is very common in the academic literature, its definition is difficult because of its many meanings. For this reason, there isn’t a universally accepted definition of this concept. In the ’50s organizational performance was defined as the extent to which organizations, viewed as a social system fulfilled their objectives (Georgopoulos and Tannenbaum, 1957). Performance evaluation during this time was focused on work, people and organizational structure. Later in the 60s and 70s, organizations have begun to explore new ways to evaluate their performance so performance was defined as an organization’s ability to exploit its environment for accessing and using the limited resources (Yuchtman and Seashore, 1957). The years 80s and 90s were marked by the realization that the identification of organizational objectives is more complex than initially considered. Managers began to understand that an organization is successful if it accomplishes its goals (effectiveness) using a minimum of resources (efficiency). Thus, organizational theories that followed supported the idea of an organization that achieves its performance objectives based on the constraints imposed by the limited resources (Lusthaus & Adrien, 1998 after Campbell, 1970). Lebans & Euske (2006) provide a set of definitions to illustrate the concept of organizational performance: Performance is a set of financial and nonfinancial indicators which offer information on the degree of achievement of objectives and results: Performance is dynamic, requiring judgment and interpretation. Performance may be illustrated by using a causal model that describes how current actions may affect future results. Performance may be understood differently depending on the person involved in the assessment of the organizational performance (e.g. performance can be understood differently from a person within the organization compared to one from outside). To define the concept of performance is necessary to know its elements characteristic to each area of responsibility. To report an organization’s performance level, it is necessary to be able to quantify the results.

            Organizational performance is often associated with concepts of accountability, efficiency, effectiveness, fiscal health, revenue autonomy, consumer satisfaction, fiscal strength, responsiveness, quality of service, and financial performance (Carmeli & Tishler, 2004; Walker & Boyne, 2006). Given the diverse concept of performance, authors operationalized the concept based on their focus. Performance reflects an organization’s ability to achieve set goals (Rainey & Steinbauer, 1999). These goals could relate to financial or non-financial aspects of the organization where improvement is needed. Boyne (2003) identified resources, management, regulation, markets, and organization as factors influencing organization performance. In terms of resources, audit quality is a valuable factor for organizational health and progress. In view of the above, audit has been acknowledged as a value-adding factor to an organization with potentials of providing the needed platform for enhanced organizational performance. Also, the quality of the audit function is more critical to organizational performance than its mere existence as a department. This is particularly important in the Nigeria where the financial regulations require the setting up of the audit function in every organization across the country.

            ROA explains how efficient a company is to utilize it available asset to generate profit. It calculate the percentage of profit a company is earning against per dollar of assets (Weston & bingham, 1977). The higher value of ROA shows the better performance it can be computed. Return on assets (ROA) will be considered as the proxy for measuring organization performance.


Lennox (1999), looked at the two explanations of the hypothesized positive relationship between audit quality and audit size; the reputation hypothesis suggested by De Angelo (1981), who argues that large auditors have more incentives to be accurate because they have more specific rents to loose if their reports are not accurate and the deep pockets hypothesis by Dye (1993), who argues that large auditors will be more accurate because they  have greater wealth that is exposed to risk in case of any litigation. The most popular measure for audit quality is audit size, in particular whether or not the company is audited by a Big N auditor (Defond, 2014). The intuition is that Big N auditors provide a higher quality audit. Given their scale, Big N auditors have access to better resources related to technology, training, and facilities (Chaney, 2004; Craswell, 1995; Francis, 1999; Khurana and Raman 2004). Big N auditors are thought to be more independent than smaller audit firms because they suffer greater reputational risk should they be negligent, rely less on an individual client’s revenues and hence less likely to be swayed by an individual client; and their larger revenue base exposes them to higher litigation risk (Palmrose 1988; Stice 1991; Bonner et al. 1998; Skinner and Srinivasan 2012; Koh, 2013; DeFond and Zhang 2014). However, the Big N variable is an indicator variable without much nuance because it is not an engagement specific measure.Miettinen (2011), examined the relationship between audit quality and financial performance. Audit quality was measured using audit size and audit committee meeting frequency. The result shows that audit quality has both a direct effect as well as a mediated effect through audit size on financial performance. The results imply that measures of audit quality are not merely symbolic but that they contribute to financial performance. Anderson and Verma (2012), examined the relationship between audit size, audit tenure and audit firm rotation using a probit model which they developed. They also discovered that national level factors have a strong influence on audit quality. Audit tenure is associated with impaired audit quality and audit firm rotation can help promote audit quality.


Audit fees proxy for the level of effort the auditor puts into scrutinizing a client.  Fees capture both demand and supply factors associated with audits. Some researchers have also used the proportion of audit fees to non-audit fees as a proxy for their independence (Frankel, 2002).  However, audit fees are likely tainted by efficiency improvements, which may not directly capture audit quality improvements. Moreover, oligopolistic premiums charged by the Big N may not directly translate to higher audit quality. There is an indirect method to support the argument that size is a good proxy for audit quality. He argued that managers have incentives to manipulate the reported earnings to meet the analyst’s forecasts. Davidson (2004). Abnormal audit fees, unexpectedly, are positively associated with the number of total violations. If abnormal audit fees suggest the need for greater audit effort in the case of risky clients, one would expect a negative association between such fees and number of violations. Consistent with expectations, abnormal audit fees are negatively associated with three allegations: (i) failure to adequately plan the audit; (ii) failure to faithfully state whether the financial statements are presented in accordance with GAAP; and (iii) inadequate consideration of fraud risks. However, abnormal audit fees are positively related to the sum total of other allegations of audit deficiencies. Hence, the performance of abnormal audit fees as an audit quality proxy is somewhat mixed. Consistent with expectations, the ratio of non-audit fees to total fees is positively associated with allegations that the auditor is not independent of the client. Audit fees Studies have found that auditor’s opinion is referred as a measure of auditor independence because auditors must be independent enough to report the truths to the public. It has been shown that audit fee is negatively correlated with the possibility of financial statement manipulation. This means that a higher audit fee results in a better audit quality (Hoitas, 2007; Stanley & Dezoort, 2007). However, the rate of audit fees is dependent on how many hours spent on the audit (Goodwin & Munro, 2004).


  An audit committee is a subcommittee of the board of directors which is responsible for operating company’s financial reporting.  Responsibilities of the audit committee include financial reporting (including internal controls), auditing and supervising other proceedings, e.g., facilitating communication between the board and the external auditor (Wolnize, 1995; DeZoort, 1998). The audit committee not only plays an important monitoring role to assure the quality of financial reporting and corporate accountability (Carcello and Neal, 2005), but also serves as an important governance mechanism, because the potential litigation risk and reputation impairment faced by audit committee members ensure that these audit committee members discharge their responsibilities effectively. We thus expect that firms with high- quality audit committees are less likely to have internal control weaknesses than firms with low-quality audit committees. Agrawal and Chadha (2005) also find that the probability of restatement is lower in companies whose boards or audit committees have an independent director with financial expertise but is not significantly related to independence alone. Karamanou and Vafeas (2005) find that the financial expertise of audit committees is associated with an increased probability of management earnings forecast updates, more informative good news forecasts, and more positive stock market reactions to management forecasts. Krishnan (2005) shows that audit committees with financial expertise are significantly less likely to be associated with incidences of internal control problems. Moreover, Krishnan and Visvanathan (2009) find that auditors charge lower fees for firms when its audit committee includes financial experts. And Chen and Zhou (2007) find audit committees with greater financial expertise were quicker to dismiss Arthur Andersen as their firm’s auditor when Andersen’s credibility was threatened around the Enron scandal. More recently, Krishnan (2011) find the presence of directors with legal backgrounds on the audit committee is associated with higher financial reporting quality. Additional tests indicate a positive association between changes in legal expertise and changes in financial reporting quality, suggesting that legal expertise serves as a monitor rather than as a signal of financial reporting quality.


Prior studies have shown that audit period has a significant influence on audit quality. This effect was either positive or negative. Watts and Zimmerman (1983) found that the longer the auditor period, the more dependence on clients. Auditor’s objectivity and independence will be destroyed and hence, audit quality reduces. Copley and Doucet (1993) opined that the longer the period of engagement, the higher the risk of lower audit quality. This was supported by the findings in: (Arrunada & Paz-Ares, 1998, Dopuch, King &Schwarts 2001, Ebrahim, 2001,). Walker, Lewis and Casterella (2001) also investigated the link between the length of the audit engagement and audit failures and found that auditor rotation may not necessarily improve audit quality. Carcello and Nagy (2004) explored the association of changing the auditor and audit quality from the point of view of fraudulent reporting. They found no significant relationships intended of the long-term tenure of the auditors. They concluded that mandatory changes of auditors might have a negative impact on audit quality. Abedalgader, Ibrahim and Baker (2010) investigated by using discretionary accruals as proxy for audit quality against auditor’s period and firm size in Jordan and found that auditor’s period is negatively related to audit quality. Adeniyi and Mieseigha (2013) investigated the relationship between audit period and audit quality. Their result reveals that there is a negative relationship between auditor tenure and audit quality. Summer (1998) analysed the hypothesis that audit period will promote audit quality; and c




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