We investigate if the SEC’s recently mandated disclosure of fees for audit and nonaudit services paid by firms to their incumbent auditors affected the market’s perception of auditor independence and earnings quality. Following the initial fee disclosures in 2001, we find that the market valuation of quarterly earnings surprises (earnings response coefficient) was significantly lower for firms with high levels of nonaudit fees than for firms with low levels of such fees. In contrast, in the year prior to the new fee disclosures, there was no reduction in earnings response coefficients for firms that subsequently reported high nonaudit fees. Our evidence suggests that mandated fee disclosures provided new information that was viewed by the market as relevant to appraising auditor independence and earnings quality.
Review of Accounting Studies – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 3, 2006
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