PCAOB Held Second Annual Economic Conference on Auditing and Capital Markets

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's Center for Economic Analysis, in conjunction with the Journal of Accounting Research, concluded Friday its second annual Economic Conference on Auditing and Capital Markets, an event promoting academic research that studies the economic impact auditing has on capital markets.

The two-day conference, held in Washington, was attended by more than 120 researchers from around the world. Participants heard presentations and discussions on eight research papers, two of which were developed by academics-in-residence with the PCAOB's Economic Research Fellowship program.

"The Center's conference has highlighted important economic research examining the role auditing has in our capital markets," said James R. Doty, Chairman of the PCAOB. "We are very excited that two PCAOB Fellows were able to add to the growing body of literature this year."

A call for research papers to be presented at the conference yielded more than 70 submissions. The eight papers presented covered a wide variety of issues:

  • Audit oversight and the effect on financial reporting credibility
  • Information value of voluntary auditor disclosures
  • Textual analysis of SEC comment letters
  • Short-selling threats and the effect on auditor behavior
  • Impact on KPMG's tax and audit practices from its 2005 Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice
  • ​PCAOB inspections and the impact on audit firms and issuers

Six of the papers were selected for presentation at the conference following a review by a program committee of leading academics assembled by the editorial board of the Journal of Accounting Research and Professor Luigi Zingales, the Center's Founding Director and the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the David G. Booth Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In addition, the Center invited two further papers to present based on their particular relevance.

"We must commend the very high quality of research submissions in response to our call," said Zingales. "The research that was presented these past two days will help inform the PCAOB's oversight activities."

Among other activities, the Center maintains a research fellowship program to encourage economic research on audit related topics. The Center will soon post a call for Fellows for the 2016-17 academic year.

"Our Fellowship program is designed to promote high-quality research similar to what we saw at the conference," said Zingales. "It is certainly off to a very exciting start."

The conference agenda and working papers presented will remain available on the PCAOB website through November 23, 2015. After this date, interested parties should contact the authors to obtain the most current versions of the papers.

The PCAOB's Center for Economic Analysis, which began operation in 2014, studies and advises the Board and PCAOB staff on the role of the audit in capital formation and investor protection and how economic theory and analysis can be used and further developed to enhance the effectiveness of regulatory programs.