Download This Article

Yongqing Li, Ian Eddie ORCID logo, Jinghui Liu ORCID logo


This study investigates the effect of two-tier board characteristics, audit committee, and external auditors on earnings management in China. This study contributes to the empirical literature of corporate governance in China that remarkably differs from the Anglo-Saxon structure in terms of boards’ features and auditing. Using a sample of 622 listed Chinese company-years, this study finds that independent directors on the board of directors are negatively related to earnings management while employee supervisors on the supervisory board are not related to earnings management. The results of empirical analysis also show that the presence of audit committees and the brand auditors are negatively associated with earnings management. Finally, the relationship between qualified audit opinions and the level of earnings management are examined. The results show that qualified audit opinion is associated with a higher level of earnings management. Implications of these findings are discussed with regard to the characteristics of corporate governance and auditing settings in Chinese listed companies. In particular, higher proportion of independent directors on the board can improve the quality of reported earnings. However, it indicates that the role of supervisory board to restrain earnings management is limited with the increase of employee members. In addition, the existence of an audit committee improves the quality of reported earnings. Moreover, external audit play a monitoring role in mitigating earnings management in Chinese listed companies.

Keywords: Earnings Management, Board Characteristics, Supervisory Board, Audit Committee, Auditor

How to cite this paper: Li, Y., Eddie, I., & Liu, J. (2010). Boards characteristics, audit committee, external auditor and earnings management: Chinese evidence. Corporate Ownership & Control, 8(1-1), 197-209.