HCBE Faculty Articles

Title

Local Accounting Firms’ Pricing Responses to Entry of the Big Four Accounting Firms into China

Document Type

Article

Date

2016

Publication Title

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies

ISSN or ISBN

2042-1168

Volume

6

Issue

1

First Page

50

Last Page

68

Description

Purpose
– The historical development and size of China’s audit market provides an opportunity to investigate important questions regarding the functioning of the market for audit services that are difficult, if not impossible, to test in other globally established markets. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of the market entry of the Big Four accounting firms into China on the audit fees charged by its local accounting firms.

Design/methodology/approach

– In this paper the authors rely primarily on the incumbent pricing literature (Simon, 2005; Geroski, 1995) to assist them in developing the specific hypotheses and empirical tests. This paper is an empirical study, which examines whether local incumbent accounting firms cut prices in response to the Big Four’s entry by using data from annual reports and audit reports for China’s listed companies from the 1994 to 2008 period.

Findings

– This study shows that local incumbent firms cut prices post-entry. This study also finds that it was local large-sized accounting firms as well as accounting firms located in regions with highly developed- and competitive markets that cut prices in response to the Big Four’s entry.

Practical implications

– This study has important implications for the Big Four accounting firms as it provides useful information about pricing strategies that would likely be used by local accounting firms in a new market. Local accounting firms in emerging markets can also gain useful insights about the pricing strategies adopted by the Big Four accounting firms when they enter a market.

Originality/value
– Audit market research has little to offer on how local accounting firms respond in their pricing to the entry of Big Four accounting firms into their market, mainly because in western countries such as Canada, England, and the USA, the Big Four accounting firms are the oldest firms operating in those markets. This paper is the first study that examines the effect of the market entry of the Big Four accounting firms into China.

DOI

10.1108/JAEE-06-2013-0030

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