Audit fees, perceived audit risk, and the financial crisis of 2008

Hanmei Chen, Shaowen Hua, Zenghui Liu, Mei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to investigate how audit fees change in responding to the financial crisis of 2008. It also examines auditors’ perceived risk and how they priced the risk in the financial crisis.

Using a sample of 20,930 firm-year observations, this paper examines the change of audit fees before, during and after the financial crisis, as well as the relationship between audit fees and restatements. Furthermore, this study investigates whether this relationship between audit fees and restatements strengthened during the financial crisis.

The paper finds that audit fees increase as a result of the macro-systemic risks from the crisis. It also finds that there is a significantly positive relationship between audit fees and restatements, which is a proxy of risk factors related to poor financial reporting quality and poor audit quality. However, the results show that there is no significant change of the fees–restatements relationship in the financial crisis period.

Research limitations/implications
The main limitation of this study is that no definite answer can be provided for the question that whether auditors believe that poor audit quality and audit failures are leading up to the financial crisis. The test rejects the alternative hypothesis. However, it does not necessarily prove the null hypothesis is true.

This paper contributes to the current literature by analyzing not only the impact of the financial crisis on audit fees, but also how the accounting profession views its own role in the financial crisis.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalAsian Review of Accounting
StatePublished - Feb 4 2019


  • Financial crisis
  • Audit fees
  • Audit risk


  • Business
  • Accounting

Cite this