Do Foreign Component Auditors Harm Financial Reporting Quality? A Subsidiary-Level Analysis of Foreign Component Auditor Use*

William M. Docimo, Joshua L. Gunn, Chan Li, Paul N. Michas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

We hypothesize and find that financial reporting quality at the foreign subsidiaries of US multinational companies (MNCs) is higher when the MNC's principal auditor engages a component auditor to audit the foreign subsidiary on its behalf. An important innovation of this study is that we focus on comparing the financial reporting quality of equivalent subsidiaries with and without component auditor work. Our approach contrasts with extant studies that examine the consequences of variation in the total amount of component auditor work at the MNC level. Our results are important for two reasons. First, we provide an alternative view on the consequences of component auditor use compared to the emerging literature in this area, which typically finds a negative association between the extent of component auditor use and financial reporting quality at the MNC level. Thus, we show that a different research design, conducted at the level at which component auditors actually perform their work, yields different inferences. Second, we demonstrate that using component auditors on US MNC group audits is an avenue through which US auditing institutions can affect financial reporting quality in foreign locations. We also reconcile our subsidiary-level results to the MNC level by introducing a new MNC-level component auditor “coverage” variable. Overall, we highlight that the best way to audit a foreign subsidiary is likely to be with a component auditor in the local country, which informs the debate surrounding recently proposed PCAOB guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3113-3145
Number of pages33
JournalContemporary Accounting Research
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

Keywords

  • Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
  • audit quality
  • component auditor
  • financial reporting quality
  • group audit
  • multinational corporation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

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