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Audit firm tenure and qualified opinions: New evidence from Spain

The 2010 Green Paper on Audit Policy by the European Commission has explicitly questioned the sufficiency of audit rotation rules established by European Union Members to guarantee auditor independence. In addition, the Paper clearly states that more research is needed regarding the effects of long audit tenures on independence. In this article, we have replicated the research by Ruiz-Barbadillo, Gómez-Aguilar, and Biedma (2005) about the effects of audit firm tenure on independence with more updated data. However, unlike them, we have performed panel data estimations instead of pooled regression. Our approach allows for a better control of individual unobserved heterogeneity, thus reducing potential problems caused by omitted variable bias. While Ruiz-Barbadillo et al. reported an unexpected positive effect of tenure on the likelihood of audit qualifications, we do not show any significant effect of tenure on the opinion of the audit report. Our results are robust to various sensitivity analyses.

Josep Maria Argilés Bosch

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