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  • 1.
    Svanberg, Jan
    et al.
    Department of Business, Economics and Law, Centre for Research on Economic Relations, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
    Öhman, Peter
    Department of Business, Economics and Law, Centre for Research on Economic Relations, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden.
    Lost revenues associated with going concern modified opinions in the Swedish audit market2014In: Journal of Applied Accounting Research, ISSN 0967-5426, E-ISSN 1758-8855, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 197-214Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the costs to audit firms in terms of lost revenues of losing small clients due to auditor switching or client bankruptcy after issuing first-time going concern modified opinions. Design/methodology/approach - A population of small Swedish companies receiving first-time going concern modified opinions in 2009 was examined to determine the effects two years later compared with a matched sample of financially stressed companies that had not received going concern modified opinions. Findings - The results indicate that both auditor switching and client bankruptcy are positively related to receipt of going concern modified opinions. Furthermore, the authors find empirical evidence that auditors issuing first-time going concern modified opinions lose proportionately more fees through auditor switching and client bankruptcy than do auditors not issuing such opinions to financially stressed clients. Finally, the authors found that the going concern modified opinions issued by Big 4 firms are no more harmful to clients than are those issued by other audit firms. Research limitations/implications - The authors recognize a limitation of this study regarding the choice of control companies. Although the authors attempted to find similarly sized and similarly financially stressed companies from the same industries as those companies in the test group, the authors may have missed other variables relevant to auditor switching or client bankruptcy. Practical implications - A practical implication for the audit profession is the increased awareness of the fact that the financial dependence issues reported in this study extend to auditors with small client companies. Originality/value - This is the first study to examine fees lost due to auditor switching and client bankruptcy caused by going concern modified opinions in a population of small companies. It contributes to the mixed evidence presented in previous research as to the extent to which going concern modified audit opinions are self-fulfilling prophecies.

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