This study examines the role of the external audit in management's decision about the amount of GAAP financial statement information to disclose in the annual earnings announcement. The earnings announcement is a key disclosure provided by public companies. Yet, there is no requirement that earnings announcements contain audited GAAP numbers; in fact, recent trends indicate that a majority of companies release earnings before the completion of year-end audit fieldwork. I predict and find that companies that wait until the audit is more complete at the earnings announcement date and receive higher quality audits provide more detailed balance sheet, cash flow statement, and overall GAAP disclosures. I also provide evidence that complete audits and higher quality audits impact the information content of the earnings announcement. The combined results indicate that audit completeness and quality help facilitate more detailed earnings announcement disclosures and have implications for the equity market.
Data Availability: Data are publicly available from sources identified in the text.