Recently, in response to calls for more transparency, many firms have begun reporting the activities undertaken by their audit committees in overseeing the work of the external auditor. We use a composite measure of audit committees' reported oversight activities for a sample of S&P 1500 firms and examine the extent to which these reported activities are associated with audit quality. We find that when firms' audit committees report exerting strong oversight, they have higher audit quality as proxied by audit fees, discretionary accruals, the likelihood of meeting or beating earnings benchmarks, and restatements. We also find that the market reacts positively to reports indicating strong oversight, consistent with perceptions of higher audit quality. This study extends prior literature on audit committees by introducing a new comprehensive measure of audit committees' reported oversight activities and sheds light on how these activities map into audit quality.
JEL Classifications: M41; M42; G18.