We examine auditor choice for listed companies in France where two (joint) auditors are required by law. This unique setting creates more complex auditor choice than the typical Big 4/non-Big 4 dichotomy in other countries, and we study if a firm¿s ownership structure affects its auditor-pair choice as well the consequences on earning quality. The findings are consistent with agency theory and indicate that a Big 4 auditor (paired with a non-Big 4 auditor) is more likely to be used when there is greater information asymmetry (less family control and more diversified ownership structures), and these associations are even stronger for firms with two Big 4 auditors conducting the joint audit. We also test if a firm’s auditor-pair choice affects earnings quality and find that firms using one Big 4 auditor (paired with a non-Big 4 auditor) have smaller income-increasing abnormal accruals compared to firms that use no Big 4 auditors, and once again this effect is even stronger for firms that use two Big 4 auditors.
FRANCIS, J.R., RICHARD, C. et VANSTRAELEN, A. (2009). Assessing France’s Joint Audit Requirement: Are Two Heads Better than One? Auditing, A Journal of Practice and Theory, 198(8-9), pp. 35-63.