How useful are audit qualifications to financial statement users? We analyze a sample of 204 firms that went public at the Athens Stock Exchange over the period 1987–2002. For 149 of these firms, auditors report quantitative estimates of the amount by which assets are overstated and/or liabilities are understated in reported financial statements. We find that underwriters and their affiliated analysts do not incorporate the negative information provided by these qualifications into offer prices and earnings forecasts. Investors, however, appear to efficiently impound the negative implications of the audit qualifications into stock market prices within the first day of trading. The results suggest that underwriters tend to align their interests with the interests of their clients, the old stockholders, at the expense of the new stockholders. They also suggest that the practice of reporting quantifiable qualifications in audit reports is valuable to investors given that they are disclosed by an expert.
Review of Accounting Studies – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 23, 2007
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