Auditors' incentives and audit quality: Non-audit services versus contingent audit fees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

I develop a model that provides new insights into the consequences of the provision of non-audit services (NAS) by audit firms to audit clients. I also investigate the joint implications of NAS and contingent audit fees (CAF) for audit quality. In the model, litigation and reputation costs do not provide sufficient incentives to auditors to exert audit effort. Investors of client firms may therefore let auditors provide NAS because of an incentive effect. Indeed, the possibility of providing NAS contingent on detecting financial misstatements increases auditors' incentives to exert audit effort. However, the provision of NAS also reduces auditor independence, which may decrease audit quality and in turn render the provision of NAS by auditors undesirable. Thus my analysis uncovers an interesting tradeoff for regulators between the positive incentive effect and the decrease in auditor independence. Removing the current restrictions on CAF may offset the ex post decrease in audit quality while preserving the ex ante incentives. My analysis also generates a number of testable empirical predictions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2022

Keywords

  • audit quality
  • auditor independence
  • contingent audit fees
  • inventives
  • non-audit services

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