Auditor tenure, investor protection and accounting quality: international evidence

Publication Name

Accounting Research Journal


Purpose: This study aims to investigate whether auditor tenure has a significant influence on accounting quality and whether investor protection moderates the effect of auditor tenure on accounting quality. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses weighted least squares regression on a sample of 77,855 firm-year observations from 36 countries during the period 2010–2016. This study uses the absolute value of performance-matched discretionary accruals to measure financial reporting quality. Findings: This study finds that a longer auditor tenure is associated with higher accounting quality, thus supporting the knowledge effect arguments. The results on the joint effect of investor protection and auditor tenure show evidence of the substitutive effect of investor protection, where the positive impact of auditor tenure on accounting quality is weaker in a high investor-protection environment. Practical implications: These findings provide input for policy implications involving the auditing profession. Regulators may need to weigh the costs and benefits of mandatory audit rotation because country-level institutional factors influence auditing regulations and practices, as well as the auditors’ behaviors. Originality/value: This study adds to the limited, albeit important, evidence on the joint effect of auditor tenure and country-level governance on accounting quality. The authors respond to the call by Brooks et al. (2017) for more evidence on the role of audits on financial reporting outcomes across various legal institutions for creating effective policies.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia



Link to publisher version (DOI)