The Relationship between Non-audit Services and Auditor Independence: Evidence from Chinese Listed Companies

Abstract

The rapid development of non-audit services (NAS) has jeopardized the independence of auditors, which has led many Western countries to enact regulations that restrict the provision of NAS. While in China, NAS have just emerged, and its development in China is far less mature than in Western countries. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether NAS in China have damaged auditor independence and whether Chinese regulators need to emulate Western countries and strongly limit the provision of NAS. In order to achieve this objective, 213 Chinese listed companies are selected in this study. The audit opinions issued by the auditors are used as substitute variables for auditor independence (dependent variables), and the ratio of non-audit service fees to the total of audit service fees and non-audit service fees as a substitute variable for the provision of NAS (independent variable), and meanwhile some suitable control variables are also selected. Analyse these data by building a binary logistic regression model. The results show that there is no evidence in China that NAS can undermine auditor independence and there is no need for China to enact regulations to prohibit the provision of NAS.