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    Financial Restatements and Shareholder Ratifications of the...
    research summary posted April 23, 2012 by The Auditing Section, last edited May 25, 2012, tagged 03.0 Auditor Selection and Auditor Changes, 03.02 Dismissal Decisions – impact of restatements, disagreements, fees, mergers, 13.0 Governance, 13.05 Board/Audit Committee Oversight 
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    Title:
    Financial Restatements and Shareholder Ratifications of the Auditor
    Practical Implications:

    The authors’ results show that restatements are viewed by investors as audit failures and restatements reflect negatively on investor perceptions of the external auditor. The study also suggests that audit committees’ decisions to change auditors are not influenced by shareholder ratification voting.  The authors state that the results support “efforts to require SEC registrants to submit auditor selection for a shareholder ratification vote.”

    Citation:

    Liu, L., K. Raghunandan, and D. Rama. 2009. Financial Restatements and Shareholder Ratifications of the Auditor. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 28 (1): 225-240.

    Keywords:
    restatements; shareholder voting; auditor ratification
    Purpose of the Study:

    The purpose of this study is to examine the impact that client restatements have on shareholder ratification votes for the external auditor.  Restatements have been widely recognized as an indicator of low audit quality and as such may influence shareholder perceptions of the external auditor.  Shareholder ratification of the external auditor is not required by state or federal laws; however, many firms maintain the practice as a measure of good governance.  This ratification vote is the only opportunity shareholders have to comment on their approval/disapproval of the audit firm and/or audit quality.  Furthermore, some investor advocate groups (e.g., CalPERS) have withheld votes against audit committee directors of firms that did not offer shareholders an opportunity to vote on auditor ratification.                                                                                                                           

    The authors expect that firms will have a higher proportion of shareholders not voting for the appointment of the auditor following a restatement.

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    The authors collect data on firms that restate 2004 or 2005 financial statements and compare shareholder ratification votes for the restating firms to shareholder ratification votes for a control sample of firms that did not restate their 2004 or 2005 financial statements.

    Findings:
    • The authors find that shareholders are more likely to vote against auditor ratification after a client restatement relative to firms that do not restate their financial statements and relative to shareholder voting prior to the restatement.
    • There were 19 of 97 restatement firms that had more than 5 percent of shareholder votes not in favor of ratifying the auditor; only 2 of these 19 firms subsequently changed auditors the following year.
    Category:
    Auditor Selection and Auditor Changes, Governance
    Sub-category:
    Dismissal Decisions – impact of restatements - disagreements - fees - mergers etc, Board/Audit Committee Oversight
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