Companies are increasingly disclosing earnings announcements prior to the completion of the year-end audit. Earnings that are released before the audit is complete are viewed negatively by investors and are positively associated with restatements and management turnover. We examine the role of the audit committee in the timing of earnings announcements. We predict and find that more powerful audit committees are positively associated with earnings announcements issued closer to audit completion. For observations with incomplete audits, we find that more powerful audit committees are negatively associated with restatements. Finally, more powerful audit committees are associated with delays in the earnings announcement. Our primary results are robust to the use of an entropy-balanced control sample and company fixed effects. These results indicate that audit committees play a role in earnings announcement timeliness and reliability, and have implications for researchers, investors, and regulators.
Data Availability: The data used in this paper are publicly available from the sources indicated in the text.
JEL Classifications: M40; M42.