The effect of the type and number of internal control weaknesses and their remediation on audit fees

Matthew J. Keane, Randal J. Elder, Susan M. Albring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose - The implementation of compliance procedures associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 came at a great cost to most publicly-traded firms, largely due to the internal control disclosures required by Section 404 of the Act. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the inquiry on internal control effectiveness by examining the impact of the type (same or different) and number of internal control weaknesses on audit fees. The paper also examines whether firms that remediate continue to incur higher audit fees compared to firms that never disclosed a weakness. Design/methodology/approach - The authors evaluate the impact of internal control weaknesses and their remediation on audit fees using ordinary least squares regression for 9,122 firm year observations (3,096 unique firms) over the time period 2004-2007. Findings - The authors find: an incremental impact on audit fees of additional material weakness disclosures; firms that report the same material weakness pay higher fees than firms reporting a different material weakness in consecutive years; and audit fees remain high one, two, and three years following remediation compared to a firm that never disclosed an internal control weakness. Originality/value - In contrast with prior studies, the sample includes firms that remediated weaknesses, firms that failed to remediate weaknesses, and firms that did not have prior weaknesses. The results suggest that the failure to remediate has greater risk implications than new weaknesses and that material weaknesses are associated with higher audit fees several years after remediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-399
Number of pages23
JournalReview of Accounting and Finance
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 5 2012

Keywords

  • Audit fees
  • Auditing
  • Fees
  • Internal control
  • Internal control weaknesses
  • Remediation
  • Sarbanes-Oxley
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

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