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An empirical analysis of audit pricing and auditor selection: evidence from India

Published in Emerald Publishing Limited
2019
Volume: 35
   
Issue: 1
Pages: 111 - 151
Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine various factors affecting the pricing of audit services and the selection of auditors in the Indian audit market. This paper also aims to investigate the impact of financial distress conditions on the audit pricing and auditor choice decisions of a firm, particularly in the context of a developing economy.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample comprises 22,644 firm-years for 1,366 Indian firms from 1990 to 2015. The authors adopt ordinary least squares regression technique to model audit fee, and logistic regression technique to model auditor choice as a function of various factors relating to firm attributes and auditor characteristics.

Findings

This paper finds that auditors tend to charge an audit fee premium when they are affiliated to a Big 4 auditor, have industry specialization or jointly provide auditing and non-auditing services. Additionally, firms with larger boards, higher proportion of independent board of directors and CEO–Chairman separation are more likely to choose a Big 4-affiliated auditor. The results also suggest that financially distressed firms tend to pay significantly lower audit fees and are more likely to choose non-Big 4 auditors.

Originality/value

This paper is among the few studies which investigate how financial distress impacts the audit pricing and auditor choice decisions of a firm in the context of emerging economies. The findings of this paper raises serious concerns about the credibility of the audited financial statements and corporate governance mechanisms of firms undergoing financial distress. The empirical results of this paper have strong implications for practitioners, regulators and investors.

About the journal
JournalManagerial Auditing Journal
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
ISSN0268-6902
Open AccessNo