Auditor Characteristics and Audit Report Lag: A Meta-Analysis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, University of Qom, Qom, Iran.

2 MSc., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, University of Qom, Qom, Iran.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to use a meta-analysis approach to analyze and combine inconsistent results of past researches on the impact of the auditor and audit-related features on the audit report lag. These variables include the auditing firm size, auditor industry specialization, auditor change, the audit tenure, type of auditor report and auditor busy season
Methods: in order to achieve the purpose of the research using Lipsey & Wilson (2000) method  and also Cochran’s Q test and Egger test, a total of 75 studies including 20 internal studies during 2010 Up to 2019 and 55 foreign studies during the years 1989 to 2019 were reviewed. In these researches audit report lag was considered as a dependent variable and the characteristics of the audit firm as an independent variable.
Results: The results show that there is no significant relation between audit firm size and the auditor tenure with audit report lag. While auditor change, type of auditor report, and auditor busy season have a positive relation with audit report lag. Finally, there is a negative relation between auditor industry specialization and audit report lag.
Conclusion: The specialized auditors in companies can speed up the audit process and make financial reports available to users with less audit lag. also to reduce audit report lag, firms should reduce the auditor change and first-year audit and Provide the necessary infrastructure to reduce material misstatements in corporate financial statements and the publishing of qualified report by auditors, which leads to Timely publish of financial statements that enriches the content of information.


Abdillah, M.R., Mardijuwono, A.W. & Habiburrochman, H. (2019). The effect of company characteristics and auditor characteristics to audit report lag. Asian Journal of Accounting Research, 4(1), 129-144.
Abbaszade, M., Hesarzade, R., Jabbari Noghabi, M., Arefi Asl, S. (2015). A Meta-Analysis of Corporate Governance and Earnings Management. Accounting and Auditing Review, 22(1), 59-84. (in Persian)
Aghabalaei Bakhtiar, H., Sarraf, F. & Farajzadeh Dehkordi, H. (2018). The Relationship between Companies’ Investment Opportunity and Audit Report Lag. Accounting and Auditing Review, 5(19), 1-20. (in Persian)
Agoglia, C. P., Brazel, J. F., Hatfield, R. C., & Jackson, S. B. (2010). How do audit workpaper reviewers cope with the conflicting pressures of detecting misstatements and balancing client workloads? Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 29(2), 27–43.
Ahmad, R.A.R. and Kamarudin, K.A. (2003), Audit delay and the timeliness of corporate reporting: Malaysian evidence, Communication Hawaii International Conference on Business, University of Hawaii-West Oahu, Honolulu, Hawaii, June 18-21.
Al-Ajmi, J. (2008). Audit and reporting delays: Evidence from an emerging market. Advances in Accounting, 24(2), 217-226.
Alavi Tabari, S. & Arefmanesh, Z. (2013). Relationship between Audit Industry Specialization and Audit Report Lag in Companies Listed in Tehran Stock Exchange. Journal of Knowledge Accounting, 4(14), 7-26. (in Persian)
Amrah, M. R., Hashim, H. A., & Ariff, A. M. (2015). The moderating effect of family control on the relationship between board of directors effectiveness and cost of debt: Evidence from Oman. International Journal of Economics, Management and Accounting, 23(2), 217-239.
Ashton, R. H., Graul, P. R., & Newton, J. D. (1989). Audit delay and the timeliness of corporate reporting. Contemporary Accounting Research, 5(2), 657-673.
Ashton, R.H., Willingham, J.J., & Elliott R.K. (1987). An empirical analysis of audit delay. Journal of Accounting Research, 25(2), 275-292.
Asthana, S. (2014). Abnormal audit delays, earnings quality and firm value in the USA. Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, 12(1), 21–44.
Baatwah, S.R., Salleh, Z., & Stewart, J. (2019). Audit committee chair accounting expertise and audit report timeliness. Asian Review of Accounting, 27(2), 273-306.
Bahmanabadi, M. (2011). The factors effecting on audit delay of the financial statements on Tehran stock Exchange Companies. Master Thesis of Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, Tehran. (in Persian)
 Bamber, E. M., Bamber, L. S., & Schoderbek, M. P. (1993). Audit structure and other determinants of audit report lag: An empirical analysis. A Journal of Practice & Theory, 12(1), 1–23.
Barzideh, F., & Moayeri, M. (2006). The Effective Factors on Timeliness of Audit Report: Evidence from Iran. Empirical Studies in Financial Accounting, 4(16), 43-69.
(in Persian)
Bozorg Asl, M., Rajabdorri, H., & Khoramin, M. (2018). Investigating the Factors Affecting Timely Audit Reports. Journal of Knowledge Accounting, 9(1), 115-146. (in Persian)
Carcello, J. & Nagy, A. (2004). Audit firm tenure and fraudulent financial reporting. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 23, 55-69.
Carslaw, C., & Kaplan, S. E. (1991). An Examination Further Evidence of Audit Delay: from New Zealand. Accounting and Business Research, 22(85), 21-32.
Chan, K. H., Luo, V. W., & Mo, P. L. (2016). Determinants and implications of long audit reporting lags: evidence from China. Accounting and Business Research, 46(2), 145-166.
Citron, D. B., & Taffler, R. J. (1992). The audit report under going concern uncertainties: An empirical analysis. Accounting and Business Research, 22(88), 337–345.
Dao, M., & Pham, T. (2014). Audit tenure, auditor specialization and audit report lag. Managerial Auditing Journal, 29(6), 490-512.
Dastgir, M., & Ahmadi, Z. (2014). Investigating the Factors Affecting the Ranking of Companies in Tehran Stock Exchange: Timeliness of Audit Reports. Journal of Iranian Accounting Review, 1(4), 23-36. (in Persian)
Delavare, A. (2005). Theoretical and scientific foundations of research in humanities. Tehran: Roshd. (in Persian)
Durand, G. (2019). The determinants of audit report lag: a meta-analysis, Managerial Auditing Journal, 34(1), 44-75.
Egger, M., Smith, G. D., Schneider, M., & Minder, C. (1997). Bias in meta-analysis detected by a simple, graphical test. Bmj, 315(7109), 629-634.
Etemadi, H., Azar, A., Nazemi Ardakani, M. (2012). The Role of Auditor Industry Specialization on Earnings Management and Future Operational Performance. Journal of Knowledge Accounting, 1(1), 9-28. (in Persian)
Ghosh, A. A., & Tang, C. Y. (2015). Assessing financial reporting quality of family firms: The auditors׳ perspective. Journal of Accounting and Economics, 60(1), 95-116.
Gilling, D.M. (1977), Timeliness in corporate reporting: some further comment, Accounting and Business Research, 8(29), 34-36.
Givoly, D., & Palmon, D. (1982). Timeliness of annual earnings announcements: Some empirical evidence. The Accounting Review, 57(3), 486–508.
Habib, A., & Bhuiyan, M. B. U. (2011). Audit firm industry specialization and the audit report lag. Journal of international accounting, auditing and taxation, 20(1), 32-44.
Habib, A., & Muhammadi, A.H. (2018). Political connections and audit report lag: Indonesian evidence. International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, 26(1), 59-80.
Habib, A., Bhuiyan, M. B. U., Huang, H. J., & Miah, M. S. (2019). Determinants of audit report lag: A meta‐analysis. International journal of auditing, 23(1), 20-44.
Hajiha, Z., & Rafiee, A. (2015). The Impact of internal audit function quality on independent Audit delay. The Financial Accounting & Auditing Researches, 6(24), 121-137.
(in Persian)
Hajiha, Z., Oradi, J., Saleh Abadi, M. (2017). Internal control weaknesses and Audit report lag. quarterly financial accounting journal, 9 (33), 78-96. (in Persian)
Harjoto, M. A., Laksmana, I., & Lee, R. (2015). The impact of demographic characteristics of CEOs and directors on audit fees and audit delay. Managerial Auditing Journal, 30(8–9), 963–997.
Hassan, Y. M. (2016). Determinants of audit report lag: evidence from Palestine. Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, 6(1), 13–32.
Hassas Yeganeh, Y., & Jafari, V. (2010). Study the effect of audit firm rotation upon audit report quality of listed companies in Tehran stock exchange. Journal of securities exchange, 3(9), 25-42. (in Persian)
Higgings, JP., Thompson, SG., Deeks, JJ., & Altman DG (2003). Measuring inconsistency in meta-analyses. BMJ, 3(27), 557-560.
Iranian Auditing Standards (2017). Auditing Standards for Financial Statements, Section 700, Iranian Audit Organization Publications. (in Persian)
Ireland, J. C. (2003). An empirical investigation of determinants of audit reports in the UK. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 30(7–8), 975–1016.
Izadinia, N., Fadavi, MH., Amini Nia, M. (2014). Investigating the Impact of Accounting Complexity and Financial Reporting Transparency of Firm on the Delay Auditor's Report, Audit Science, 14(1), 87-103. (in Persian)
Jafari Nasab Kermani, N., Molanazari, M., Rahmani, A. (2019). Challenges and Opportunities of Changing the Auditor Report in Iran. Accounting and Auditing Review, 26(3), 348-370. (in Persian)
Jaggi, B., & Tsui, J. (1999). Determinants of audit report lag: Further evidence from Hong Kong. Accounting and business research, 30(1), 17-28.
Johnson, V. I. Khurana, and J. Reynolds. 2002. Audit-firm tenure and the quality of financial reports. Contemporary Accounting Research, 19(4), 637-660.
Khasharmeh, H. A., & Aljifri, K. (2010). The timeliness of annual reports in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates: An empirical comparative study. The International Journal of Business and Finance Research, 4(1), 51-71.
Khlif, H., & Samaha, K. (2014). Internal Control Quality, E gyptian Standards on Auditing and External Audit Delays: Evidence from the E gyptian Stock Exchange. International Journal of Auditing, 18(2), 139-154.
Kim, J. H. (2019). The Impact of Asymmetric Cost Behavior on the Audit Report Lag. Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal, 23(4), 1-13.
Kim, J. H., Nicolaou, A. I., & Vasarhelyi, M. A. (2013). The impact of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems on the audit report lag. Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting, 10(1), 63-88.
Knechel, W. R., & Payne, J. L. (2001). Additional evidence on audit report lag. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 20(1), 137–146.
Knechel, W. R., & Sharma, D. S. (2012). Auditor-provided nonaudit services and audit effectiveness and efficiency: Evidence from pre-and post-SOX audit report lags. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 31(4), 85-114.
Lari dashtebayaz, M., Ghannad, M., & Fakour, H. (2018). Features of the Audit committee and the Delay in the Audit report. The Financial Accounting & Auditing Researches, 10(37), 215-241. (in Persian)
Lari dashtebayaz, M., Mohammadi, S., Naghshbandi, N., Moeinnezhad, B. (2018). Effects of Audit-related Features and Corporate Governance Mechanisms on Timely Disclosure. Empirical Research in Accounting, 8(4), 273-298. (in Persian)
Lee, H. Y., Mande, V., & Son, M. (2008). A comparison of reporting lags of multinational and domestic firms. Journal of International Financial Management & Accounting, 19(1), 28-56.
Lee, H. Y., Mande, V., & Son, M. (2009). Do lengthy auditor tenure and the provision of non‐audit services by the external auditor reduce audit report lags? International Journal of Auditing, 13(2), 87-104.
Leventis, S., Weetman, P., & Caramanis, C. (2005). Determinants of audit report lag: Some evidence from the Athens Stock Exchange. International Journal of Auditing, 9(1), 45-58.
Lipsey, W., & Wilson, D. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Macaskill, P., Walter, S., Irwing, L.A. (2000). Comparison of methods to detect publication biasd in meta-analysis. State Med., 20, 641-654.
Mahdavi, G., Hosseini Nia, S. (2015). Investigating Effectiveness of Audit Quality on Reduction of Audit Report Delay in Companies Listed in Tehran Stock Exchange. Journal of Knowledge Accounting, 6(21), 7-31. (in Persian)
Mao, M. Q., & Yu, Y. (2015). Analysts' cash flow forecasts, audit effort, and audit opinions on internal control. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 42(5-6), 635-664.
Maranjory, M. (2018). Meta-Analysis in Accounting Research. Journal of Accounting Research, 8(3), 125-147. (in Persian)
McDaniel, L. S. (1990). The effects of time pressure and audit program structure on audit performance. Journal of Accounting Research, 28(2), 267–285.
MohammadRezaei, F., & Mohd‐Saleh, N. (2018). Audit report lag: the role of auditor type and increased competition in the audit market. Accounting & Finance, 58(3), 885-920.
Moradi, M., & Pourhosseini, S. (2009). Investigating the Relationship between Some Financial and Non-Financial Characteristics and Duration of Completion and Completion of Audit Operations in Companies Listed in Tehran Stock Exchange. Accounting and Auditing Research, 1(1), 168-185. (in Persian)
Munsif, V., Raghunandan, K., & Rama, D. V. (2012). Internal control reporting and audit report lags: Further evidence. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 31(3), 203-218.
Nasrollahi, S, N., Mokhtari, H., Seyedein, M. (2014). Meta-analysis: An Approach to Synthesizing and Evaluating Research on Knowledge and Information Science. Iranian Journal of Information Processing and Management, 29(2), 293-316. (in Persian)
Oussii, A. A., & Taktak, N. B. (2018). Audit committee effectiveness and financial reporting timeliness. African Journal of Economic and Management Studies.
Owusu-Ansah, S. (2000). Timeliness of corporate financial reporting in emerging capital markets: Empirical evidence from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Accounting and business research, 30(3), 241-254.
Pourheidari, O., Borhaninejad, S., & Mohammad Reza Khani, V. (2015). The effect of audit quality on the timeliness of audit reports in companies listed in Tehran Stock Exchange. Journal of Audit Science, 14(58), 85-104. (in Persian)
Rusmin, R., & Evans, J. (2017). Audit quality and audit report lag: case of Indonesian listed companies. Asian Review of Accounting, 25(2), 191–210.
Sahbay Ghorghi, E., Lari Dashtebayazi, M., Fakoor Saghih, A. (2020). Auditor Reporting and Audit Fees: The role of Business Strategies. Accounting and Auditing Review, 26(4), 517-543. (in Persian)
Salehi, M., Oradi, J., Salari Forg, Z. (2016). Effects of Presence of Audit Committee and Its Characteristics on Audit Report. Journal of Knowledge Accounting, 7(26), 59-83. (in Persian)
Salleh, Z., Baatwah, S. R., & Ahmad, N. (2017). Audit committee financial expertise and audit report lag: Malaysia further insight. Asian Journal of Accounting and Governance, 8, 137-150.
Sarvestani, R. (2000). The social deviance and pathology in Iran. Journal of Social Sciences Letter, 15(15). (in Persian)
Schwartz, K. B., & Soo, B. S. (1996). The association between auditor changes and reporting lags. Contemporary Accounting Research, 13(1), 353-370.
Shin, I. H., Lee, H. Y., Lee, H. A., & Son, M. (2017). How does human resource investment in internal control affect audit reporting lag? Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting & Economics, 24(1-2), 195-215.
Sinason, D. H., Jones, J.P. & Shelton, S. W. (2001). An Investigation of Auditor and Client Tenure, American Journal of Business, 16(2), 31-44.
Stewart, E. G., & Cairney, T. D. (2019). Audit report lag and client industry homogeneity. Managerial Auditing Journal. 34(8), 1008-1028.
Sultana, N., Singh, H., & Van der Zahn, J. L. M. (2015). Audit committee characteristics and audit report lag. International Journal of Auditing, 19(2), 72-87.
Tanyi, P., Raghunandan, K., & Barua, A. (2010). Audit report lags after voluntary and involuntary auditor changes. Accounting Horizons, 24(4), 671-688.
Vaez, A., Abedi Sadeghiani, B., Ahmadi, V. (2016). The relationship between some audit quality indicators and company characteristics with Audit Report Lag. Journal of Audit Science, 16(62), 101-120. (in Persian)
Wan-Hussin, W. N., & Bamahros, H. M. (2013). Do investment in and the sourcing arrangement of the internal audit function affect audit delay?. Journal of Contemporary Accounting & Economics, 9(1), 19-32.
Watts, R. and Zimmerman, J.L. (1986), Positive Accounting Theory, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Whitworth, J. D., & Lambert, T. A. (2014). Office‐level characteristics of the Big 4 and audit report timeliness. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 33(3), 129–152.
Xu, Y., Carson, E., Fargher, N., & Jiang, L. (2013). Responses by Australian auditors to the global financial crisis. Accounting & Finance, 53(1), 301-338.