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Analyst Coverage, Analyst Following, Audit Hours, Audit Quality
This study investigates the effect of financial analyst coverage on audit efforts by examining the association between the number of analyst followings and audit hours. Existing literatures report that there are inconsistent results between analyst coverage and audit efforts, and most studies used audit fee as a proxy for audit efforts. However, audit fee may cause measurement error. We consider that audit hour is a better proxy for measuring audit efforts than audit fee because practically auditors are less likely to charge extra audit fee for their additional efforts in competitive audit market. Also, after audit engagement contract, the amount of audit fee is almost fixed. Thus, it cannot reflect variable auditors decision whether inputting additional efforts or not during audit service. Intuitively, audit hours are more accurate measure of audit efforts as long as it indicates how much hours auditors work. For the above reasons, we use unique dataset of audit hours in Korea. We find that analyst coverage is positively associated with audit hour. This means auditors make more efforts on their audit service in case of greater analyst following, and they crucially consider reputational damage from audit failure when they provide audit services to their clients with great analyst following. Next, we still observe positive relation in both pre and post global financial crisis periods. Lastly, we find that BIG4 auditors are more concerned about reputational loss than Non-Big4 in case of greater analyst following.