Auditor industry specialization, service bundling, and partner effects in a mining-dominated city

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Auditing, 2014, 33 (3), pp. 153 - 180
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© 2014, American Accounting Association. All rights reserved. This study examines auditor industry specialization effects in Perth, a remote mining town in Australia characterized by a large number of small, homogeneous firms. We consider the impact of leadership by the non-Big 4 auditor BDO Kendalls (BDO) for a sample of 371 mining development stage entities (MDSEs). After controlling for factors known to determine audit fees, we find no evidence of auditor industry leadership fee premiums accruing to BDO, a result robust to a range of sensitivity tests including the broadening of tests Australia-wide. However, when the dependent variable is redefined to the total ‘‘bundle’’ of services provided by the audit firm (including audit and non-audit fees), the industry leader is shown to earn a fee premium suggesting BDO uses audits as a conduit to supply higher-margin non-audit services. Our findings suggest that strategic pricing by industry leaders may not be confined to Big 4 firms.
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