Audit pricing, reporting quality, and auditor switches in the post -SOX period

Hua-Wei Huang, Florida International University


The Sarbanes-Oxley Act represents an important watershed event in the history and regulation of the accounting profession. In this dissertation, I develop arguments as to why we can expect differences in auditor behavior before and after SOX and empirically test if indeed there were differences in auditor behavior before and after SOX. My dissertation consists of three essays. For the three essays, I investigate issues related to auditor independence, audit pricing, the impact of auditor changes in the post-SOX period. ^ The motivation for the first part of my research comes from the SEC's assertions that there are differences between types of non-audit services in terms of their potential to adversely impact auditor independence. The first part of my dissertation empirically validates the SEC's assertions that auditors would be more conservative in those instances where the tax and other non-audit services fee ratios are high but not when the audit-related fee ratio is high. The second part of my study examines if auditors are less likely to "low ball" their audit fees in the period after SOX than in the period preceding SOX. Legislators, regulators, and the media have expressed concerns that auditors "low ball" the fees for initial year audits and that such low-balling can lead to reduced audit quality. I find that there is significant initial year audit fee discount in pre-SOX period and but the fee discount does not hold in post-SOX periods. The third part of my dissertation examines the association between auditor switches and auditor conservatism. I find that a large portion of Big 4 clients switch to non-Big 4 auditors and there is no significant evidence indicating that successor auditors are more conservative in the post-SOX period. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Accounting

Recommended Citation

Huang, Hua-Wei, "Audit pricing, reporting quality, and auditor switches in the post -SOX period" (2007). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3279228.