This study examines the association between internal control deficiencies (ICDs) reported under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX, U.S. House of Representatives 2002) and the presence of former audit partners on the audit committee who are affiliated (AFAPs) and unaffiliated (UFAPs) with the firm's external auditor. We find a negative association between AFAPs and UFAPs on the audit committee and ICDs. We also find results that suggest the NYSE and NASDAQ three-year "cooling-off" rule applying to AFAPs may be unwarranted and deserves further empirical and regulatory attention. Further tests suggest AFAPs do not allow management to circumvent the disclosure of ICDs when conditions appear to suggest this may be so, and that AFAPs are negatively related to performance-adjusted discretionary accruals. Collectively, we interpret these findings to suggest that AFAPs and UFAPs on the audit committee are associated with more effective monitoring of internal controls and financial reporting.
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