The impact of external auditor size on the relationship between audit committee effectiveness and earnings management

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This research aims to explore new evidence on the nature of the relationship between the effectiveness of audit committee and earnings management in one of the emerging economies, Jordan. In addition, it investigates how external auditor size might moderate this relationship. For this purpose, a panel data consisting of 64 industrial firms listed on Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) is used, covering the period between 2009 and 2014. An index consisting of four characteristics is developed to measure the effectiveness of audit committee, namely audit committee independence, size, meetings and financial expertise. Results show that audit committee effectiveness has a significant and negative impact on earnings management. Moreover, a positive interaction effect of external auditor size and audit committee effectiveness on earnings management is found, which is supportive of the substitute relationship between the external auditor size and effective audit committee in reducing earnings management. Policy makers and professional accounting bodies in Jordan might benefit from these results, as they show that legislative reforms can motivate firms to adopt good governance practices to mitigate earnings management.

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    • Table 1. Descriptive statistics
    • Table 2. Regression analysis of earning management, audit committee effectiveness and Big 4 audit firms