Perceived effects of key audit matters reporting on audit efforts, audit fees, audit quality, and audit report transparency: stakeholders’ perspectives

Md Khokan Bepari, Shamsun Nahar, Abu Taher Mollik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to examine the perspectives of auditors, regulators and financial report preparers on the effects of key audit matters (KAMs) reporting on audit effort, fees, quality and report transparency. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted 21 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders (13 Audit Partners, 5 Chief Financial Officers and 3 regulators) and thematically analysed the interviews. They use the frame of “Paradox of Transparency” to explain the findings. Findings: Auditors perceive that the overall quality control of their audits has improved both in the planning and execution stages, and such improvement can mostly be attributed to the coercive pressures from professional bodies and regulators. Nevertheless, audit fee remains unchanged. Auditors disclose industry generic items and descriptions of KAMs, sometimes masking the real problem areas of the clients. Even after improving the performative audit quality, transparency of audit reporting has not improved. Issues that warrant going concern qualifications or audit report modifications are now reported as KAMs. Hence, KAMs reporting might make the audit report less transparent. Practical implications: Localised audit environments and institutions affect the transparency of KAMs reporting. Without attention to corporate governance and auditors’ independence issues, paradoxically, performative improvement in audit quality (due to the KAMs reporting requirement) does not enhance the transparency of audit reports. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to provide field-level evidence in Bangladesh and other developing countries about the perceptions of auditors, financial report preparers and regulators on the effects of KAMs reporting on audit efforts, fees, quality and report transparency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalQualitative Research in Accounting and Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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