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The Impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on the Audit Fees of Australian Listed Firms


Elizabeth Carson, School of Accounting, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. Email:


The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002) (SOX) was enacted to improve the corporate governance practices of US firms. Significantly, foreign registrants traded on US stock exchanges are also required to comply with SOX. This study assesses the impact of the SOX legislation on non-US firms by examining audit fees for Australian firms with foreign registrant status in the US from 2001 to 2005, compared with audit fees for other Australian firms. The findings indicate that Australian companies issuing American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) incurred substantial increases in audit fees and Australian firms subject to the full provisions of SOX incurred larger increases in audit fees. These findings provide a broader understanding of the compliance costs for non-US firms subject to SOX and therefore inform both policy-makers and firms.