We present evidence on the resolution of proposed audit adjustments during a unique time period, immediately following several U.S. financial scandals and surrounding calls for reforms in auditing and financial reporting, which culminated in the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). During this period, auditors and their clients faced increased scrutiny from investors and regulators. In addition, auditors had to contend with changed incentives, a new external regulator (i.e., the PCAOB), and upcoming annual PCAOB inspections. We extend prior studies by considering a broader range of factors potentially impacting the resolution of proposed adjustments, including the effect of client tenure, strength of internal controls, and repeat adjustments. Data on 458 proposed adjustments are obtained from the working papers of a sample of 163 audit engagements conducted during 2002 by a Big 4 firm. We find that 24.2 percent of proposed adjustments were subsequently waived. The results indicate audit adjustments are more likely to be waived for clients with whom the audit firm has had a longer relationship, although the pattern does not reflect favoring such clients. We also find that adjustments are more likely to be waived for repeat adjustments.
Data Availability: Due to a confidentiality agreement with the participating audit firm the data are proprietary.