Mandatory audit fee disclosure and price competition in the private client segment of the audit market.
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation Volume 40, September 2020, 100337 10.1016/j.intaccaudtax.2020.100337
This study empirically examines whether mandatory audit fee disclosure affects audit pric-ing and price competition in the private client segment of the Belgian audit market. Weexpect price competition between auditors to intensify after mandatory public disclosureof audit fees because transparency of audit fee information is likely to increase client bar-gaining power and/or increase competitive pressure. Using a data set including both pre-and post-disclosure audit fees of private clients, we observe that subsequent to mandatorydisclosure of audit fees, clients with positive (negative) abnormal audit fees experience adownward (upward) fee adjustment. Consistent with increased price competition followingmandatory audit fee disclosure, clients with negative abnormal audit fees are better able tomitigate the upward fee adjustment if they have higher bargaining power or have an audi-tor facing stronger competitive pressure. These effects are largest in the initial disclosureyear, suggesting anticipatory price adjusting behavior by audit firms.