شواهد بیشتر در مورد عوامل موثر بر قیمت گذاری حسابرسی در دانشگاهها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1916||2013||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Accounting Forum, Available online 26 January 2013
This study investigates the determinants of audit fees for UK universities, involving an analysis of 451 university-year observations over the period 2007–2010. The study contributes to a fledgling strand of research examining audit pricing in the public sector. In seeking to identify an appropriate model to explain audit fees we interview a number of university auditors and use their insights in conjunction with prior findings from both private and public sector studies of audit pricing. Our findings show that audit fees in UK universities are positively influenced by size, the number of subsidiary companies, the amount of endowments, the level of debtors, being located in England and the use of a London-based auditor. We also find that more research-intensive universities (using a range of measures) and universities with greater operating surpluses pay lower audit fees.
Ever since Simunic's (1980) seminal paper a significant literature has grown up seeking to explain the determinants of audit fees. The existing literature focuses predominantly on audit pricing in the context of private companies with a number of factors emerging as having a reasonably consistent impact on fees (Hay, Knechel, & Wong, 2006). First, a number of audit client characteristics have consistently been found to influence audit fees. These include size, complexity, risk, profitability, and leverage. Second, prior research has also reported a number of auditor characteristics to be significant in the audit pricing decision, such as; whether the auditor is one of the big-four audit firms, the length of the auditor's tenure, the auditor's market share, and, in the case of UK-based research, whether the auditor is based in London. Third, a number of audit engagement attributes such as audit timing, the length of time between the financial year-end and the signing of the audit report as well as the presence of an audit qualification typically emerge as important influences on the audit fee. Fourth, more recent research has focused on the impact of the joint provision of non-audit services on audit fees with reasonably consistent evidence that the value of non-audit services purchased exerts a positive impact on the audit fee. The literature on the determinants of audit fees in the public and non-profit sectors is less developed with only a handful of UK-based studies having examined the issue. The studies that have taken place tend to be heavily influenced by findings from the private sector with researchers focusing their investigations on organisational characteristics such as audit client size, complexity and risk as well as auditor characteristics such as size and location. For example, in a study of audit fees in NHS trusts by Clatworthy, Mellett, and Peel (2002), auditee size, certain aspects of complexity and London-based audits are found to exert a significant and positive impact on audit fees while audit tenure and the extent of consultancy fees paid to the auditor have a significant and negative impact. In a subsequent study of NHS trusts, Basioudis and Ellwood (2005), while confirming the earlier findings in respect of size, complexity, audit location and consultancy fees, find that large auditors do charge a premium for their audits. Finally, in a study of the UK charity sector, Beattie, Goodacre, Pratt, and Stevenson (2001) again find that organisation size, complexity and auditor location are significant influences on the level of audit fee paid but also find that large auditors charge a premium as do industry specialist auditors. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the determinants of audit fees in the UK university sector. Universities are a sub-sample within the overall public sector in the UK so, in that respect, this study seeks to add to our understanding of the determinants of audit fees in the public sector. Despite the large number of studies that have investigated the determinants of audit fees in the private sector, very few have examined the issue in the context of the public sector so this study adds significantly to the current paucity of knowledge in this area. More specifically, the study seeks to build on prior research by Mellett, Peel, and Karbhari (2007) who examined the determinants of audit fees in a sample of UK universities using data from 2001. In summary, Mellett et al. (2007) find that university size, complexity, auditor size, auditor location and the joint provision of non-audit services exert a significant positive influence on audit fees while older universities exert a negative impact. We believe our study adds to the work of Mellett et al. (2007) in two important respects. First, we study the determinants of audit fees over the four-year period 2007–2010, therefore providing a more contemporary analysis of the issue as well as being able to examine the continued relevance of the findings of Mellett et al. (2007) over a period of significant change in the UK higher education sector. Furthermore, since we investigate audit fees over a four-year period, our findings are likely to be more robust than those from a single year study. Second, while Mellett et al. (2007), and other studies of audit pricing in the public and non-profit sectors, base their analysis largely on the established model for private companies, we also interview university auditors in order to improve our understanding of the factors that auditors themselves perceive as being important in their pricing decisions. These interviews have allowed us to design and test a more bespoke model for understanding the determinants of audit fees in UK universities. Our findings show that audit fees in UK universities are positively influenced by size, the number of subsidiary companies, the level of endowments, the proportion of assets in the form of debtors, being located in England and the use of a London-based auditor. We find that older universities and universities with greater operating surpluses pay lower audit fees. An important contribution of our study relates to the findings around the impact of income sources on audit fees with greater emphasis on research income (using a range of measures) being associated with lower audit fees while greater reliance on teaching income is associated with higher audit fees. The paper is structured as follows: The next section reviews prior literature on audit fees, including a discussion of the applicability of aspects of the private sector pricing model to public and non-profit institutions. Section 3 discusses the governance and audit framework of UK universities and uses the feedback from our interviews with university auditors to discuss a revised model of the determinants of audit fees in the UK university sector. Section 4 describes the sample, presents some summary statistics and also presents some sub-sample comparisons. Section 5 presents the results of our multivariate analysis. Section 6 contains our conclusions as well as some discussion of possible avenues for further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study undertakes a contemporary analysis of the determinants of audit fees in the UK university sector. The study contributes to a fledgling strand of research seeking to understand the pricing of audit services in the public sector. Specifically, we investigate the influence of a range of client, auditor and engagement characteristics on the audit fees paid by 113 UK universities over the period 2007–2010. A unique feature of our study is the involvement of three leading university auditors who contributed significantly to the development of the study through their practical insights on issues they perceive may influence audit fees in the university sector. Our findings show that audit fees in UK universities are positively influenced by size. This is not surprising and is consistent with almost all prior research both in the private and public sectors. We employ a range of complexity variables, some bespoke to the UK university sector and others widely used in prior research both in private and public sector settings. We find that the proportion of assets in the form of both endowments and debtors have a positive impact on audit fees as does the number of subsidiaries. However, being an old university has a negative impact on audit fees. In terms of audit risk we find that the level of operating surpluses has a negative impact on audit fees suggesting that auditors perceive universities generating greater surpluses as presenting a reduced audit risk and reward them with a reduced fee. We find that being located in England has a positive impact on fees while being located in Wales and Scotland has a correspondingly negative impact. Our auditor interviewees suggest that such regional differences are more likely due to auditor costs, especially salaries, being higher in England compared to Scotland and Wales rather than different standards of audits being required by the different regional regulators of universities in the UK. We look in detail at the impact of the different funding sources and find that various measures of research intensity have a negative impact on audit fees while income from tuition fees and more unusual “other” sources also has a positive impact. A feature of the UK university sector is the presence of old and new universities. In our univariate comparisons we find that these two university types differ significantly in many of our explanatory variables with new universities being more reliant on being teaching/government funded and being significantly less complicated than old universities. When we investigate the determinants of audit fees for old and new universities separately we find that our complexity and risk measures are especially significant in the case of old universities while size and financial performance are key determinants of audit fees in new universities. We find no evidence that auditor characteristics or non-audit fees paid to auditors influence audit fees in the university sector although London-based auditors exert a consistently positive impact. Even though we have undertaken a comprehensive study of audit pricing in universities significant opportunities exist for further research. While we offer some explanation for the different findings in respect of old and new universities, further research is needed to understand exactly why our model fails to capture a greater degree of audit fee variability in new universities. In this study we highlight the greater emphasis of new universities on teaching income and government funding. Future research could usefully seek to drill further into the components of new university income to ascertain whether there are risks associated with different sub-categories of such income. Recent research in the context of private companies has investigated the impact of governance, especially audit committee characteristics, on audit fees (Lee and Mande, 2005 and Zaman et al., 2011). Future research could look at such issues, especially the impact of characteristics such as audit committee size, meeting frequency and expertise on audit fees. The UK university sector is currently going through a period of significant change with a reduction in government funding and the introduction of tuition fees for undergraduate students. Underlying these funding changes is a policy to make UK universities less reliant on public funding and more market-orientated. These changes are likely to result in universities becoming more corporate in their approach and likely to have a consequent impact on auditors’ pricing strategies. Future research seeking to ascertain how current developments impact the determinants of university audit fees is capable of providing valuable insights on how audit pricing decisions evolve as the sector experiences significant structural change, specifically change likely to alter the risk profile of universities.