Agency Problems and Audit Fees Further Tests of the Free Cash Flow Hypothesis



We expect that the auditors assess higher risks and expend more effort to address the agency problems of FCF and growth opportunities. Companies often use debt and dividend to monitor (and mitigate) the agency problems of FCF, as these reduce the funds available to managers. This study provides further evidence on whether audit fees vary in relation to the agency problems that can arise in companies with FCF. For this, we partitioned the sample into four groups according to FCF and growth opportunities. Then we test the relationship between audit fee level and experimental variables in the form of a four-level categorical variable (FG). Our sample consists of 88 companies in listed Tehran Stock Exchange for the period of 1381 to 1388. In order to study the relationships t-test and ANCOVA method have been used. Our results show that companies with high FCF and high growth opportunities are more likely to have higher audit fees than companies with low FCF and high growth opportunities. We also find that higher debt levels moderate the higher audit fees, but dividend payout does not.