SUMMARY: The market for audit services has been affected in recent years by significant changes like the demise of Andersen and the implementation of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act of 2002. One impact of these market changes has been an increase in the frequency of auditor switches, and in particular, the frequency of clients switching from Big 4 auditors to smaller audit firms. We examine whether this switching activity has resulted in changes in the risk characteristics of publicly traded clients of Second Tier audit firms. This analysis is important as regulators are concerned about audit market concentration and would like to see the Second Tier audit firms expand their share of the publicly traded client market. Results indicate that Second Tier firms are accepting clients with potentially increased audit and client business risk characteristics relative to their existing client base, but they also appear to be “shedding” clients that have increased audit and client business risk characteristics relative to their existing client base. Some of the differences in risk characteristics for those departing clients are more pronounced in the period after 2000, when we expect the most significant changes in the audit market occurred. Second Tier auditors are increasingly exposed to more business risk as they accept larger clients coming from Big 4 predecessor auditors, which may increase their exposure to litigation.
Risk Shifts in the Market for Audits: An Examination of Changes in Risk for “Second Tier” Audit Firms
Chris E. Hogan, Roger D. Martin; Risk Shifts in the Market for Audits: An Examination of Changes in Risk for “Second Tier” Audit Firms. AUDITING: A Journal of Practice & Theory 1 November 2009; 28 (2): 93–118. https://doi.org/10.2308/aud.2009.28.2.93
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