The effect of audit committee characteristics on financial reporting quality: The moderating role of audit quality in the Netherlands

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The purposes of this study are to shed light, on the one hand, on the effect of audit committee characteristics, namely independent members in audit committee, a financial expert in audit committee, frequency of meetings and audit committee size on financial reporting quality proxied by real earnings management. On the other hand, it aims to investigate the moderating role of audit quality in the relationship between audit committee characteristics and financial reporting quality. The objective is to contribute to the new evidence on the role of audit committee characteristics towards the financial reporting quality with audit quality as a moderator, particularly the appointment of Big 4 company. This study uses the ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to achieve the research purpose by evaluating the data collected from 90 public listed companies from 2010 to 2019 in the Dutch context. The results state that audit committee characteristics have a statistically significant relationship with real earnings management. However, the effect of audit committee meetings on abnormal operating cash flow and discretionary expenses is not significant. There is also evidence that audit quality positively moderates the audit committee and real earnings management links. Lastly, the findings of this study will help professional accountancy bodies and governments to highlight the relevance of earnings management in safeguarding trustworthy financial information, owners’ wealth and to enhance audit committee characteristics in improving audit quality, especially after the enforcement of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code in 2016.

Keywords: Audit Committee, Independent Member, Presence of a Financial Expert, Frequency of Meetings, Audit Committee Size, Financial Reporting Quality, Real Earnings Management, Audit Quality

Authors’ individual contribution: The Author is responsible for all the contributions to the paper according to CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) standards.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

JEL Classification: G3, M42

Received: 29.11.2020
Accepted: 25.02.2021
Published online: 26.02.2021

How to cite this paper: Masmoudi, S. M. (2021). The effect of audit committee characteristics on financial reporting quality: The moderating role of audit quality in the Netherlands. Corporate Ownership & Control, 18(3), 19-30.