To help guard against weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting (ICFR), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires certain filers to have their ICFR assertions audited. Beneish et al. (2008) show that market participants fail to react negatively to adverse ICFR audit opinions. This is puzzling because weak ICFR heightens the risk of fraud or materially misstated financial statements. Our study reexamines this issue for the time periods covered by Auditing Standard No. 2 (AS2) and Auditing Standard No. 5 (AS5). We too find no significant negative market reaction to the disclosure of adverse ICFR audits in the AS2 era. However, we show that markets react negatively for first-time disclosures of adverse ICFR audits after the adoption of AS5. Furthermore, in the AS5 regime, markets seem to differentiate between entity-wide versus account-specific ICFR weaknesses. We also show that correcting previous ineffective ICFR results in a positive market reaction.

Data Availability: Data are available from sources cited in the text.

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