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Audit Committee Accounting Expertise and Audit Quality – the Case of Going-Concern Opinions

Gnanakumar Visvanathan
Published: 20 June 2021

Abstract: This study examines whether audit committee accounting expertise and other audit committee characteristics promote or deter the likelihood of receiving going-concern reports from the auditors and whether such characteristics shield auditors from dismissals after the issuance of a going-concern report. The study finds no significant association between the likelihood of a going-concern report and audit committee accounting expertise or other audit committee characteristics. No significant association is also found for auditor dismissals following going-concern reports and audit committee accounting expertise. These results contrast with prior literature that examined data preceding the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (hereafter SOX) or the period immediately thereafter. Additional analysis shows that audit committee accounting expertise is found to improve the information in going-concern audit opinions by reducing Type I errors, however. Overall, these findings shed light on the evolving role of audit committees in overseeing the auditors and have implications for regulators interested in improving audit quality and investors interested in improving the effectiveness of audit committees.
Keywords: auditors / Opinions / audit committee accounting expertise

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