PCAOB inspection deficiencies and audit fees

Pervaiz Alam, Yang Cheng, Laura K. Rickett, Justyna Skomra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to extend research on the effect of PCAOB inspections on audit firm behavior by examining generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS) and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) type PCAOB inspection deficiencies, separately, to reveal the differential effects on audit fees in subsequent years. We empirically examine the audit fees of 98,393 client firm-year observations for auditors who received a PCAOB inspection report during 2004–2021 via multivariate regression analyses. We find that GAAS (GAAP) deficiencies are associated with higher (lower) audit fees in the years following the reported deficiency. Our results suggest that the PCAOB inspection process modifies audit firm behavior when GAAS deficiencies are reported leading to the firm charging higher audit fees to defray the costs of addressing the deficiencies, but due to the severity of GAAP deficiencies that are identified, audit firms are willing to negotiate lower fees to retain the client. Our results are primarily driven by annually inspected audit firms. These results suggest that auditors respond to GAAS and GAAP PCAOB inspection deficiencies differently. The results of our study are useful to regulators and policymakers, such as the SEC and the PCAOB, in understanding how auditors respond to PCAOB inspection deficiencies and their due diligence to correct those deficiencies. PCAOB inspections are intended to evaluate compliance with accounting and auditing standards to improve audit quality and our study helps to extend the research to date which has not yet clearly demonstrated whether or not this has been accomplished.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-249
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Corporate Accounting and Finance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance

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