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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Corporate Governance Research in Accounting and Auditing:...
    research summary posted October 27, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 13.0 Governance, 13.01 Board/Audit Committee Composition, 13.03 Board/Audit Committee Tenure, 13.04 Board/Audit Committee Compensation, 13.05 Board/Audit Committee Oversight, 13.06 Board/Audit Committee Processes 
    Title:
    Corporate Governance Research in Accounting and Auditing: Insights, Practice Implications, and Future Research Directions
    Practical Implications:

    First, the weight of evidence suggests that weak governance is associated with an increased likelihood of adverse financial reporting outcomes (in particular, fraud and restatements). Thus, perhaps the most fundamental practice implication is that the governance research findings to date are, on an overall basis, consistent with the focus on improved corporate governance (e.g., board independence, audit committee expertise) found in SOX and related regulatory reforms.

    Second, since the board and the audit committee are primary mechanisms for the internal monitoring of top management’s financial reporting behavior, and given that the CEO and/or CFO is involved in 89 percent of all public company accounting frauds (Beasley et al. 2010), external auditors need to very carefully examine corporate governance characteristics and processes in assessing the control environment.

    Third, research finds that auditor changes/dismissals are less problematic in the presence of good governance. That is, in the presence of good governance, the auditor change/dismissal may be justified by poor auditor performance or excessive fees. Since regulators do not have the resources to examine all auditor changes, even if limited to dismissals, regulators might want to consider the client firm’s governance characteristics when deciding whether to investigate an auditor dismissal.

    Fourth, research indicates that external auditors assess risk higher and plan more audit hours for firms with weak governance. However, whether auditors adequately adjust for weak governance has not been examined. In other words, adjustments of risk assessments and audit hours occur, but is there enough adjustment in light of the higher risk?

    Fifth, strong governance and strong auditing appear to be complements rather than substitutes—stronger boards and audit committees are associated with stronger auditing. Therefore, monitoring (both internal monitoring by the board and audit committee, and external monitoring by the auditor) is likely to be especially weak in firms with weak governance, for the quality of auditing is likely to be lower in the presence of weak governance.

    Sixth, a number of studies have demonstrated the importance of audit committee accounting expertise, as well as auditing expertise and industry expertise. Firms should strive to appoint audit committee members with specific accounting and auditing expertise given their apparently greater effectiveness and the positive stock market reaction to the appointment of accounting experts.

    Seventh, a growing line of research indicates that audit committee compensation methods can influence audit committee members’ judgments, and audit committee compensation methods are associated with the risk of restatement and with the handling of auditor adjustments. We encourage auditors, analysts, and shareholders to be cognizant of the potential risks involved if audit committee members are compensated primarily with short-term, incentive-based pay.

    Eighth, some audit committees appear to take their monitoring roles seriously, while others appear to be primarily ceremonial in nature. Auditors are in a unique position to evaluate the effectiveness of the audit committee process. Auditors should explicitly evaluate the effectiveness of the audit committee’s processes, and adjust their risk assessments, budgeted hours, and the nature, extent, and timing of audit testing, especially if effective audit committee processes seem to be attenuated by the intervention of a dominant CEO.

    Finally, given the severe reputational damage experienced by directors, especially audit committee members, in cases of financial reporting failures, and given the difficulty of monitoring a large entity on a part-time basis, audit committees might want to consider retaining permanent staff or consultants to the audit committee.

    For more information on this study, please contact Dana Hermanson.

    Citation:

    Carcello J. V., D. R. Hermanson, and Z. Ye. 2011. Corporate Governance Research in Accounting and Auditing: Insights, Practice Implications, and Future Research Directions. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 30 (3): 1-31. 

  • The Auditing Section
    On the Constitution of Audit Committee Effectiveness
    research summary posted May 3, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 13.0 Governance, 13.06 Board/Audit Committee Processes, 14.0 Corporate Matters, 14.11 Audit Committee Effectiveness 
    Title:
    On the Constitution of Audit Committee Effectiveness
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for regulators when considering corporate governance processes and governance disclosures.  This study also provides insight into the importance of small events surrounding audit committee meetings, such as members’ style of questioning and insistence on managers swiftly adopting corrective measures to solve problems highlighted in internal audit reports.  The results provide insights into the process with which audit committee attendees define their effectiveness.  The results call into question the effectiveness of recent regulatory attempts to strengthen formal disclosures.

    Citation:

    Gendron,Y., and J. Bédard. 2006. On the constitution of audit committee effectiveness. Accounting, Organizations and Society 31(3):
    211-239.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Serving Two Masters: The Association between Audit Committee...
    research summary posted October 19, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 13.0 Governance, 13.05 Board/Audit Committee Oversight, 13.06 Board/Audit Committee Processes, 13.07 Internal auditor role and involvement in controls and reporting 
    Title:
    Serving Two Masters: The Association between Audit Committee Internal Audit Oversight and Internal Audit Activities.
    Practical Implications:

    The results speak to the need for regulators to consider the incentives of the various stakeholders when determining policy. Should policy makers consider expanding or restricting specific oversight roles, they should consider the concomitant effects on the internal audit function, and the differential incentives faced by the audit committee and executive management. In addition, as audit committees and managers jointly work or oversee the work of internal auditors, the results suggest that these two oversight participants should consider how their respective incentives potentially bias the focus of the internal audit department away from a mix of activities that optimally address the greater business risks of the company. Likewise, as external auditors assess the organizational status of the internal audit department, they may also wish to consider the apparent focus of internal audit as a potential indication of oversight control.

    Citation:

    Abbott, L. J., S. Parker, and G. F. Peters. 2010. Serving Two Masters: The Association between Audit Committee Internal Audit Oversight and Internal Audit Activities. Accounting Horizons 24 (1): 1-24.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Shareholder Voting on Auditor Selection, Audit Fees, and...
    research summary posted September 12, 2013 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 03.0 Auditor Selection and Auditor Changes, 13.0 Governance, 13.06 Board/Audit Committee Processes 
    Title:
    Shareholder Voting on Auditor Selection, Audit Fees, and Audit Quality
    Practical Implications:

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession (ACAP) recently recommended that all publicly traded companies be required to have shareholder ratification of auditor selection. This study provides evidence of the potential implications of making a shareholder vote on auditor selection mandatory. The results of this study indicate that a shareholder vote on auditor selection is associated with higher audit quality and higher audit fees. These findings should be of interest to policy makers, auditors and public companies that might become subject to this policy change.


    For more information on this study, please contact Mai Dao.
     

    Citation:

    Dao, M., K. Raghunandan, and D. Rama. 2012. Shareholder Voting on Auditor Selection, Audit Fees, and Audit Quality. The Accounting Review 87 (1): 149-171.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Effects of Prior Manager-Auditor Affiliation and PCAOB...
    research summary posted November 15, 2016 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 13.0 Governance, 13.06 Board/Audit Committee Processes 
    Title:
    The Effects of Prior Manager-Auditor Affiliation and PCAOB Inspection Reports on Audit Committee Members’ Auditor Recommendations
    Practical Implications:

    This paper provides evidence indicating that audit committee members recognize the potentially harmful effects of a manager-auditor relationship on auditor independence. It also supplies insight into the audit committee’s auditor selection and audit quality assessment process. 

    Citation:

    Abbott, L. J. V. L. Brown and J. L. Higgs. 2016. The Effects of Prior Manager-Auditor Affiliation and PCAOB Inspection Reports on Audit Committee Members’ Auditor Recommendations.  Behavioral Research in Accounting 28 (1): 1-14. 

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Nominating Committee Process: A Qualitative Examination...
    research summary posted July 17, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 13.0 Governance, 13.01 Board/Audit Committee Composition, 13.06 Board/Audit Committee Processes 
    Title:
    The Nominating Committee Process: A Qualitative Examination of Board Independence and Formalization.
    Practical Implications:

    The overall message of the interviews perhaps is best captured by one interviewee, who described a “strange little dance.” Throughout the interviews, the authors find evidence that the NC must “dance” through a complex decision landscape that includes potential CEO influence over the nomination process, consideration of formal versus informal processes, frequent previous ties between NC members and the CEO, a nearly pervasive focus on chemistry and comfort, and concerns about external legitimacy and board effectiveness. Such complexity offers the NC numerous opportunities to stumble or fall, and it demonstrates the need for multiple theoretical perspectives in interpreting the findings. Such complexity, or limited observability of NC-related outputs, also could serve to insulate the NC from scrutiny or regulation.

    Citation:

    Clune, R., Hermanson, D. R., Tompkins, J. G., & Ye, Z. 2014. The Nominating Committee Process: A Qualitative Examination of Board Independence and Formalization. Contemporary Accounting Research 31 (3): 748-786.

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