Why Do Female Lead Auditors Charge a Fee Premium? Evidence from the UK Audit Market

Andrews Owusu, Noel O'Sullivan, Frank Kwabi, Mark Holmes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Existing research documents a fee premium for female partner led audits (Ittonen & Peni, 2012; Hardies et al., 2015; Burke et al., 2019; Lee et al., 2019; Hardies et al., 2021). We take this work forward by investigating a possible justification for the observed premium by examining how auditor gender is related to audit report lag and whether the female partner audit fee premium is driven by audit report lag. We find that firms audited by a female lead auditor have a significantly shorter audit report lag but pay a significantly higher audit fee. In further analysis, we find that the fee premium for a female partner led audits is higher for clients receiving a more timely audit opinion. Our findings are consistent with female lead auditors delivering more timely audits and audit clients being prepared to pay a premium for such timeliness. Our study extends our understanding of the importance of gender in the auditing process and the value clients see in audits led by female auditors. Given the relatively low proportion of female lead auditors, our findings should also encourage audit firms to appreciate the economic value of female lead auditors and to actively facilitate their progression to senior roles.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation
    Publication statusAccepted/In press (AAM) - 8 Jan 2024

    Keywords

    • Audit
    • Female audit partners
    • audit partners
    • audit report lag
    • audit fees

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