Does CEO–Auditor Dialect Connectedness Trigger Audit Opinion Shopping? Evidence from China

Journal of Business Ethics 184 (2):391-426 (2023)
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Abstract

Using the original information from the identification cards of CEOs and signing auditors to hand-collect the data on CEO–auditor dialect connectedness (_CADC_), we examine the effect of _CADC_ on audit opinion shopping (_AOS_), and further investigate the moderating effect of auditor reputation. Using a sample of Chinese listed firms during the period of 2007–2019, our findings reveal that the likelihood of _AOS_ is significantly higher for firms with _CADC_ than for their counterparts. This finding suggests that _CADC_ impairs auditor independence and triggers _AOS_. Moreover, the effect of _CADC_ on _AOS_ is less pronounced for _BIG10_-audited firms than for non-_BIG10_-audited firms, implying that auditor reputation attenuates the relation between _CADC_ and _AOS_. Furthermore, the above findings are robust to alternative proxies for _CADC_ and _AOS_, and our conclusions are still valid after using the Heckman two-stage regressions, the propensity score matching approach, the change model method and the regression discontinuity design to control for the endogeneity issue. Lastly, the impact of _CADC_ on _AOS_ stands only for engagement auditors, but not for review auditors. Overall, our study enriches the existing literature on _AOS_ and auditor independence.

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