Open Access

Auditor switching, earnings manipulation and auditor independence: Evidence from A-share listed companies in China

Frontiers of Business Research in ChinaSelected Publications from Chinese Universities20082:17

https://doi.org/10.1007/s11782-008-0017-4

Published: 30 July 2008

Abstract

Based on data from Chinese A-share listed companies between 1999 and 2004, this paper examines the causes of auditor switching and its effects on the independence of successive auditors from the perspective of earnings manipulation. Results show that: (1) listed companies manipulate their earnings through replacing their auditor and the successive auditor fails to exercise necessary prudence; (2) for companies reporting profit in the year of auditor change, the formerly low discretionary accruals usually increase significantly after the switch mostly resulting from assets devaluation and adjustments to non-recurring items; (3) In contrast, for companies reporting losses in the year of auditor change, they take a “big bath” to adjust lower earnings of the same year. These findings indicate that auditor change is related to the conservatism of predecessor auditors and it damages the independence of successive auditors.

Keywords

auditor switchingearnings manipulationauditor independencediscretionary accruals

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