Does auditor reputation matter? The case of KPMG Germany and ComROAD AG

  • Weber J
  • Willenborg M
  • Zhang J
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We study the stock and audit market effects associated with a widely publicized accounting scandal involving a public company (ComROAD AG) and a large, reputable audit firm (KPMG) in a country (Germany) that has long provided auditors with substantial protection from shareholder legal liability. We use this event to study whether an auditor's reputation helps to ensure audit quality, a rationale for which recent literature and events provide scant support. Given the absence of a strong insurance rationale for audit quality, Germany permits a relatively clean test of whether auditor reputation matters. We find that KPMG's clients sustain negative abnormal returns of 3% at events pertaining to ComROAD, and that these returns are more negative for companies that are likely to have higher demands for audit quality. We also find an increase in the number of clients that drop KPMG in the year of the ComROAD scandal (mostly smaller, recently public companies that are similar to ComROAD). Overall, our results provide support for the reputation rationale for audit quality. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Journal of Accounting Research is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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  • Joseph Weber

  • Michael Willenborg

  • Jieying Zhang

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