The effect of auditor industry specialization and board independence on the cash flow reporting classification choices under IFRS: evidence from Taiwan

Shuling Chiang, Gary Kleinman, Picheng Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to explore the relationship between audit partner and firm industry specialization and board of director independence on the decision by Taiwanese firms to use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) flexibility concerning reporting interest income and expense and dividends received in different sections of the statement of cash flows. This flexibility existed in Taiwan for the first time in 2013, the year that Taiwan switched from its own generally accepted accounting principle to IFRS. Design/methodology/approach: Using 2013 data for a sample of 1,227 firms, 354 of whom changed their reporting classification, this study examined the interaction effect of board independence and partner-level and firm-level auditor industry specialization on the cash flow reporting decision using logistic regression. Findings: The results show there is a substitute relationship between board independence and partner-level industry specialization on the change in cash flow reporting classification, but a complementary relationship between board independence and firm-level auditor specialization. Further, both partner-level and firm-level auditor industry specializations have a complementary (but negative) relationship with board independence as to whether the firm is likely to report interest expense paid in the operating or financing activities sections. Practical implications: An important implication is that knowing the levels of audit firm and partner specialization and how independent the board is, is useful for researchers and regulators in investigating auditor-client relationships and understanding the influences of variables investigated here on the outcome(s) of accounting policy and regulatory changes. Originality/value: This study improved the field’s understanding of the impacts of audit partner and firm specialization, board independence and relevant interactions on cash flow reporting choices.

Keywords

  • Auditor industry specialization
  • Board independence
  • Cash flow
  • IFRS

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