Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Accounting

First Advisor's Name

Barua Abhijit

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Suchismita Mishra

Third Advisor's Name

Kanan Raghunandan

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dasaratha Rama

Keywords

Earnings Benchmarks, Earnings Management, CEO and CFO Change, Auditor Change

Date of Defense

6-14-2011

Abstract

Audit reporting lag continues to remain an issue of significant interest to regulators, financial statement users, public companies, and auditors. The SEC has recently acted to reduce the deadline for filing annual and quarterly financial statements. Such focus on audit reporting lag arises because, as noted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, relevance and reliability are the two primary qualities of accounting information; and, to be relevant, information has to be timely.

In my dissertation, I examine three issues related to the audit report lag. The first essay focuses on the association between audit report lag and the meeting or beating of earnings benchmarks. I do not find any association between audit report lag and just meeting or beating earnings benchmarks. However, I find that longer audit report lag is negatively associated with the probability of using discretionary accruals to meet or beat earnings benchmarks. We can infer from these results that audit effort, for which audit report lag is a proxy, reduces earnings management.

The second part of my dissertation examines the association between types of auditor changes and audit report lag. I find that the resignation of an auditor is associated longer audit report lag compared to the dismissal of an auditor. I also find a significant positive association between the disclosure of a reportable event and audit report lag.

The third part of my dissertation investigates the association between senior executive changes and audit report lag. I find that audit report lag is longer when client firms have a new CEO or CFO. Further, I find that audit report lag is longer when the new executive is someone from outside the firm. These results provide empirical evidence about the importance of senior management in the financial reporting process.

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