Audits of private firms
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Private and public firms differ across a number of important dimensions. Public firms are under scrutiny by stock exchanges, regulators, and market participants and they share the feature of separation of ownership and control. Private firms, in contrast, are much less regulated, the nature of their agency problems is different, they are less exposed to market forces, litigation and publicity, and they operate in a much more opaque information environment. The greater heterogeneity among private firms makes the role of auditing less obvious, which is reflected by auditing being made statutory in some countries while being voluntary in others. In this paper we highlight the differences between audits of private and public firms and review and synthesize the empirical evidence, which is sparse in comparison to what is available for public firms.