Relationship Between Non-Audit Services and Auditors´ Independence : Evidence from Earnings Management Perspective
Recent financial crises and accounting scandals resulting from perceived audit failures have given rise to increase criticism in the manner which accountants and auditors respect their professional code of ethics. As a consequence, the SEC rules in 2000 limits the services auditors are allowed to provide to their clients and also set limits on fees for internal audit services. In addition to this, they called upon all firms to disclose all fees paid to auditors for both audit and non-audit services.
This thesis investigates whether the provision of Non-Audit Services is associated with auditor’s independence evidence from the earnings management perspective proxy by discretionary accruals. I began this study by examining the relevant textbooks and related articles of accounting and auditing. Furthermore, the hypotheses and research model are proposed based upon related accounting and auditing theories. The data for this thesis were manually collected from the NASDAQ OMX website from the annual financial reports of 107 Swedish public listed firms in the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The selection of these companies was based on their capitalization i.e., Large, Medium and Small size firms. In this study, quantitative research method has been used to explore the relationship between provision of NAS and auditor’s independence with the help of statistical soft wares (SPSS and Excel) for data analysis.
My research outcome provides evidence that the amount of non-audit services rendered by a firm’s external auditors is not associated with earnings management; therefore, the auditor’s independence is not compromised for providing NAS to their clients. This no association is an indication that, the auditor’s independence is strengthened during the provision of non-audit services a result consistent with that of prior researches (e.g., DeFond et al. (2002); Crabtree et al. (2004); Chung & Kallapur (2003)). I also found out that, the provision of audit services is not associated with earnings management, an indication of no management discretionary accruals. Therefore, the auditor’s independence is not compromised when providing a joint audit and non-audit services. These results provide an insight concerning the perceptions of auditor independence and also afford empirical evidence regarding the role that non-audit and audit services fees plays in establishing confidence among the users of firms’ annual financial report.
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