Audit quality attributes, client size and cost of equity capital

Guy D. Fernando, Ahmed M. Abdel Meguid, Randal J. Elder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of certain audit quality attributes, namely auditor size, auditor industry specialization and auditor tenure on a client firm's cost of equity capital. Design/methodology/approach The paper uses empirical data to construct a measure of ex ante cost of equity capital for each firm and year using analyst forecasts. Independent audit quality measures used are auditor size, auditor industry specialization and auditor tenure. Firm cost of equity capital is regressed against the three independent variables and appropriate control variables. Findings The paper finds that auditor size (auditor is a member of the BigX), auditor industry specialization and auditor tenure are negatively associated with the client firm's cost of equity capital. However, the paper finds that this effect is limited only to small client firms, potentially reflecting the poor information environment associated with such firms. Practical implications The study highlights the importance of audit quality attributes in determining the firm's cost of capital. It also highlights ways in which firms (especially small firms) can reduce the cost of equity capital by improving their information environment through the judicious selection of auditors. Originality/value This is believed to be the first paper to examine whether the effects of three audit quality attributes (auditor size, auditor industry specialization and auditor tenure) on a firm's cost of capital are dependent on the client's size. The paper empirically shows that such effects are more pronounced for smaller clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-381
Number of pages19
JournalReview of Accounting and Finance
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2010

Keywords

  • Auditing
  • Auditors
  • Cost of capital
  • Equity capital
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Audit quality attributes, client size and cost of equity capital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this