This study examines the potential for non-audit services to impair auditor independence using going concern modifications as a proxy for audit quality. While prior research has focused primarily on Anglo-Saxon environments, this study focuses on Germany because of the country's unique reporting attributes and lower litigation risk when compared to Anglo-Saxon settings. Based on a sample of financially stressed manufacturing companies during the period 2005–2009, the results do not suggest that German auditors are less independent when the level of non-audit fees is high. However, there is some evidence that Big 4 audit firms are less likely than their non-Big 4 counterparts to issue a going concern emphasis-of-matter paragraph for engagements characterized by both relatively high levels of non-audit fees and financial stress.

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