Article | Accounting Review | September, 2012

Audit Quality and Auditor Reputation: Evidence from Japan

by Douglas Skinner and Suraj Srinivasan

Abstract

We study events surrounding ChuoAoyama's failed audit of Kanebo, a large Japanese cosmetics company whose management engaged in a massive accounting fraud. ChuoAoyama was PwC's Japanese affiliate and one of Japan's largest audit firms. In May 2006, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) suspended ChuoAoyama for two months for its role in the Kanebo fraud. This unprecedented action followed a series of events that seriously damaged ChuoAoyama's reputation. We use these events to provide evidence on the importance of auditors' reputation for quality in a setting where litigation plays essentially no role. Around one quarter of ChuoAoyama's clients defected from the firm after its suspension, consistent with the importance of reputation. Larger firms and those with greater growth options were more likely to leave, also consistent with the reputation argument.

Keywords: audit quality; auditor reputation; Japan; Accounting Audits; Crime and Corruption; Reputation; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Japan;

Citation:

Skinner, Douglas, and Suraj Srinivasan. "Audit Quality and Auditor Reputation: Evidence from Japan." Accounting Review 87, no. 5 (September, 2012): 1737–1765.