Relative audit fees and client loyalty in the audit market

Relative audit fees and client loyalty in the audit market Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the stability or loyalty in the auditor‐client relationship. It explores the association between audit fees and auditor loyalty. Specifically, it investigates whether clients paying less audit fees relative to other companies in their industries are more likely to be loyal to their auditors. Design/methodology/approach – Logistic and ordinal regression analyses are used to compare loyal clients to clients that switched audit firms after controlling for factors that are expected to be associated with client loyalty. Findings – Results show that relative audit fees have a significant effect on the degree of loyalty of clients to their audit firms. Additional analysis shows that the loyalty of clients that pay higher audit fees relative to similar clients in their industry are highly affected by increases in audit fees. However, the loyalty of clients who pay lower audit fees compared to similar clients in their industry is not affected by further increases in relative audit fees. Research limitations/implications – The study does not differentiate between auditor dismissal and auditor resignation in the classification of clients that switched auditors. It also does not classify auditor switches into auditor‐initiated switches and client‐initiated switches. Practical implications – It is cost effective for clients to stay with the same audit firm. Audit firms should be careful when adjusting their audit fees from one period to another, as there is a higher probability of losing a client, when increasing the audit fees, especially if this client is already paying higher audit fees relative to similar clients. Originality/value – The findings of this study increase the understanding of how relative audit fees affect client loyalty in the audit market. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting Research Journal Emerald Publishing

Relative audit fees and client loyalty in the audit market

Accounting Research Journal, Volume 24 (1): 15 – Jul 19, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1030-9616
DOI
10.1108/10309611111148788
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the stability or loyalty in the auditor‐client relationship. It explores the association between audit fees and auditor loyalty. Specifically, it investigates whether clients paying less audit fees relative to other companies in their industries are more likely to be loyal to their auditors. Design/methodology/approach – Logistic and ordinal regression analyses are used to compare loyal clients to clients that switched audit firms after controlling for factors that are expected to be associated with client loyalty. Findings – Results show that relative audit fees have a significant effect on the degree of loyalty of clients to their audit firms. Additional analysis shows that the loyalty of clients that pay higher audit fees relative to similar clients in their industry are highly affected by increases in audit fees. However, the loyalty of clients who pay lower audit fees compared to similar clients in their industry is not affected by further increases in relative audit fees. Research limitations/implications – The study does not differentiate between auditor dismissal and auditor resignation in the classification of clients that switched auditors. It also does not classify auditor switches into auditor‐initiated switches and client‐initiated switches. Practical implications – It is cost effective for clients to stay with the same audit firm. Audit firms should be careful when adjusting their audit fees from one period to another, as there is a higher probability of losing a client, when increasing the audit fees, especially if this client is already paying higher audit fees relative to similar clients. Originality/value – The findings of this study increase the understanding of how relative audit fees affect client loyalty in the audit market.

Journal

Accounting Research JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 19, 2011

Keywords: United States of America; Relative audit fees; Client loyalty; Switchers; Audit market; Auditors

References

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