In this part of dissertation, there is a grief introduction about this dissertation, which includes the following context: the background and overview of related researches in this paper; the motivation for doing this study and a introduction of the structure of this paper.
Firth (1997) notices that the responsibility of auditor is reporting comparative correct financial information to shareholders in an independent position. However, what makes regulators concern more about is the client-auditor relationship, especially the economic relation, which formed in the long-term cooperation may have impact on auditors’ independent position. For a long time, because of the dependence of auditors’ fees on client firms, therefore, the controversy about whether this economic dependence might impair auditors’ independence position and audit quality make many empirical researches in the area. The impairment of audit independence caused by the economic relationship will result in the audit opinion shopping.
Previous studies consider about the affects of audit fees on audit quality in two ways: high audit fees paid to auditors may be the reflection of the complexity of auditing process and also increase auditors’ effort. However, on the other hand, large audit fees paid to auditors might easy to build the economic bonding between client and auditors, thus, auditors are easy to compromise to audit independence, as the fear of losing highly profitable fees. Though a lot studies have researched the relationship between audit fees and audit quality, most of the studies just have blue results for their studies (Hoitash, Markelevich and Barragato, 2007).
Basing on the theory that examining the fees paid by client firms will better analyze the relation between audit independence and audit quality, this paper uses the methodology consistent with the way used in previous studies, i.e. Kinney and Libby (2002), Choi, Kim and Zang (2006), Hoitash et al (2007), in which develop a methodology that is depended on the notion that audit fees related to expected fees have effect on audit independence and quality. Therefore, being same as previous studies here will use to audit fees model to measure the expected fees in order to compare with the actual fees paid to auditor. Using the methodology in Choi, Kim and Zang’s (2006) study, the differences between actual fees and expected fees are divided into two parts: the positive one and negative one, which helps us to compare whether there is any different reflection when auditors are paid less or excess their expectation. As for the proxy for examining audit quality, the discretionary accruals model which drawn from previous literature are selected. As suggested by Choi, Kim and Zang (2006), the modified Jones’ model for discretionary accruals is used in this paper. The variables in models are selected according to previous studies which consider the influence on audit fees from perspectives of client firms’ sizes, auditing risk, complexity and the size of audit firms (Chan, Ezzamel and Gwilliam, 1993). Beside dividing abnormal fees into positive subsample and negative subsample, the combined sample is cut into other two subsample which are based to the sizes of audit firms, which aims to examine the different behaviors to audit fees between BIG4 auditors and NON-BIG4 auditors. Thus, the objective in this paper is to prove whether abnormal fees might result in lower audit quality and whether there is different behavior to abnormal fees between BIG4 and NON-BIG4 auditors.
Continuing the previous study which is finished by Chan, Ezzamel and Gwilliam (1993), this study uses the data collected from UK market in order to find out related evidence from this market and 787 observations cover the period from 2006-2008 are collected from UK quoted public companies will help to examine audit fees paid to auditors. In addition to examine the relation between abnormal audit fees and audit quality, this study also follows the investigation which is finished by Ashbaugh, LaFond and Mayhew (2003) which focuses the study on whether the payment of non-audit fees has influence on audit independence. To extent this study, the paper here will test the ratio of non-audit fees to total fees paid to auditors which aims to find whether there is a positive relation between increased ratio of non-audit fees and decreased audit quality. Being different with Ashbaugh et al’s (2003) research which analyzes non-audit fees in full sample, this non-audit fees here will be analyzed in subsample with positive abnormal fees and subsample of negative fees respectively, thus, whether non-audit fees have different influences on audit quality when auditors are paid higher or lower fees than their expectation should be examined.
The motivation for doing this study is based on the aim that finding out whether the economic bonding between auditors and client firms is existed really, as this relationship is one of the most controversial topic in public and academic area, especially after the Enron even and the failure of Anderson, this topic motivates more and more interesting in this area.
However, according to the results of previous studies, many studies failed to prove the existent of this relationship between auditors and client firms, and the results in other relative studies are ambiguous. Moreover, because of active economic environment and accounting events, most studies paid attention on American market, as for other markets, seldom of relative investigations can be found. The aim in this study is try to find out relative evidence from UK market.
The structure of this paper follows: the next part is a literature review in related area which introduced both early and latest studies; and then is the development of hypotheses the resource of relative theory and the contribution of hypotheses are included in this part. The design of methodology is presented in chapter 4 which has a description of important models in detailed. Furthermore, the chapter after it is the description of sample and the result of test, which is also the center of this study. The limitation and conclusion will be displayed in the last chapter which gives an overview and comment of this study.
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