Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine partner specialization effects on audit fees in the US audit market. Design/methodology/approach – This study exploits the unique environment created from the demise of Andersen to examine the effect of partner specialization on audit fees in the US audit market. An ordinary least squares regression was estimated from a sample of ex‐Andersen clients that assumingly followed their ex‐Andersen audit partner to the new audit firm. Findings – The results show significant positive relations for both audit partner‐ and office‐level specialization and audit fees and suggest that auditor specialization at both the partner‐ and local office‐level demand a fee premium in the US audit markets. Furthermore, the results do not show a significant difference between partner‐ and office‐level specialization effects on audit fees. Originality/value – This study contributes to the audit quality literature by examining the effects of auditor specialization at both the office and partner levels on audit fees within a developed market. The results of this study should be of interest to academics, investors and regulators and help them in their assessments of audit quality.
Managerial Auditing Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 27, 2014
Keywords: Audit; Audit fees; Audit market; Auditor reputation; Auditor specialization; Partner specialization; External audit; Public accounting firms; Public sector auditing; M4
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