Non-audit service fees and financial reporting quality: a meta-analysis
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Auditing as a corporate governance mechanism has attracted considerable research attention. Because of the information asymmetry between corporate managers and outside shareholders, auditors are hired to provide independent assurance that financial statements are prepared following generally accepted accounting principles. The credibility of such assurance depends on the independence, both in fact and in appearance, of the auditor. Over the years, however, the independence of auditors has come under increased scrutiny because of their joint provision of both audit and non-audit services. A sizable literature on the impact of non-audit fees on financial reporting quality has developed. The evidence from this literature, however, remains inconclusive. This paper provides a meta-analysis of the available literature by assessing (a) the net effect of non-audit fees on financial reporting quality, and (b) whether there is homogeneity in the financial reporting quality proxies used in the extant literature. Findings suggest that the level of client-specific non-audit fees is associated with reduced financial reporting quality. However, the underlying studies used to conduct this meta-analysis are not homogenous.