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Keywords:

  • Audit committees;
  • Audit fees;
  • Board tenure
  • M42;
  • G34

Abstract

An independent audit committee is an audit committee on which all members are independent directors. This study examines whether independent audit committee members’ board tenure affects audit fees. On the basis of the prior literature, we formulate an unsigned hypothesis. This is because on the one hand, long board tenure audit committee members (defined as members with board tenure of 10 or more years) have greater incentives to protect their reputational capitals by purchasing increased audit effort, which positively affects audit fees. On the other hand, audit pricing reflects audit committee quality. Long board tenure audit committee members may have less need for increased audit effort because they can effectively oversee the financial reporting process themselves, which negatively affects audit fees. We find that audit fees are negatively associated with the proportion of long board tenure directors on the independent audit committee, consistent with the notion that audit committee members’ long board tenure results in lower audit effort.