This study empirically examines the relation between certain board of director characteristics and the extent that audit committee composition voluntarily exceeds minimum mandated levels and includes outside directors with financial reporting and audit committee knowledge and experience. This study focuses on board characteristics because the board directly controls audit committee membership. Such staffing decisions can directly affect the ability of the audit committee to monitor management's financial reporting process on behalf of the board. Results suggest that Canadian firms that voluntarily include more outside directors on the audit committee than the mandated minimum have larger boards with more outsiders serving on those boards and are more likely to segregate the board chairperson position from the CEO/president positions. Additionally, firms that voluntarily create audit committees composed of outsider members with a breadth of relevant financial reporting and audit committee knowledge and experience have boards that are larger, have more outside members, and are less likely to be chaired by the CEO/president. Implications of these findings for auditors, institutional investors, regulators, and other interested parties are discussed.
Contemporary Accounting Research – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2001
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