Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

The Challenge of Measuring Audit Quality: Some Evidence

Volume: 6
Number: 4
Pages: 345 - 374
Year: 2014
Keywords: Audit quality; Accounting quality; Empirical audit research; Opinion shopping; Audit regulation; Evidence-based regulation; Earnings management; Discretionary accruals; Critical accounting

Recent proposals on audit regulation, whether in the EU or by the PCAOB, have been motivated by efforts to increase audit quality. However, there does not exist any generally agreed upon definition of audit quality. This paper aims to critically assess the status quo of the discussion regarding audit quality and its operationalisation in empirical research. We show that the applied audit quality surrogate is able to drive research findings. Conducting a correlation analysis, we find that some of the proxies are not positively correlated at statistically significant levels and thus seem not to be fully consistent with each other. Moreover, we find that significance levels of various influence factors on audit quality vary depending on the applied audit quality surrogate. Therefore, we point to the fact that researchers as well as practitioners and policymakers have to be careful when using and interpreting research findings that apply different audit quality.