What underlies key audit matters? Evidence from Taiwan

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This study investigates what specific information underlies key audit matters (KAMs). Investigating Taiwan listed companies from 2016 to 2020 in which the audit market is highly price-competitive and has a relatively low litigation risk, we find that companies’ accounting performance is relatively poor when more KAMs are disclosed by auditors. The negative association between accounting performance measures and the number of KAMs is enhanced when auditors’ perceived risk increases. When auditors perceive increased risk, they convey negative accounting performance-related information through the number of KAMs disclosed to fulfill their professional due diligence. We also find a negative association between changes in the types of KAMs disclosed and accounting performance in the current and next years. This finding suggests that changes in the types of KAMs disclosed by auditors reflect that companies are subject to major changes in business strategies or operating conditions and may have poor accounting performance in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1258
Number of pages16
JournalReview of Quantitative Finance and Accounting
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Finance


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