The effect of audit firm attributes on audit delay in the presence of financial reporting complexity

Chu Chen, Hongmei Jia, Yang Xu, David Ziebart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aims to examine the effects of audit firm attributes on audit delay associated with financial reporting complexity (FRC). Design/methodology/approach: The authors use regression models with a sample of public firms with distinct monetary eXtensible Business Reporting Language tags to test the research hypotheses. Findings: The authors find that two audit firm attributes (audit firm tenure and non-audit services performance) moderate the effect of FRC on audit delay. Practical implications: The study provides insights to regulators, practitioners and investors into how firms may reduce audit delay from FRC by keeping their long-tenured auditors and allowing their auditors to gain more knowledge about the firms by providing non-audit services. The results, therefore, have implications for mandatory audit firm rotation. Originality/value: To the best of the knowledge, this study conducts the first comprehensive analysis of this topic, exploring the impact of three audit firm attributes on audit delay caused by FRC. It attempts to illustrate the impact of external audit firms on reducing the adverse consequences of FRC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-302
Number of pages20
JournalManagerial Auditing Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Jie Zhou (Editor-in-Chief) and Ittonen Kim (Associate Editor). This manuscript has greatly benefited from constructive feedback of two anonymous reviewers. The authors also thank Kenn Webb, Shareholder in the law firm Ferguson Braswell Fraser Kubasta PC of Plano, Texas, for his valuable insights and editorial contributions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Audit delay
  • Audit firm tenure
  • Auditor size (Big 4 vs non-Big 4)
  • Financial reporting complexity
  • Non-audit services performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting (all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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