The effect of audit adjustments on earnings quality: evidence from China

Clive Lennox, Xi Wu, Tianyu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (SciVal)


We examine how adjustments to earnings during year-end audits affect measures of earnings quality. There are four key findings. First, audit adjustments cause earnings to become smoother and more persistent. Second, the adjustments result in higher accrual quality. Third, audit adjustments have a larger negative effect on signed accruals than absolute accruals. Fourth, the adjustments do not reduce the discontinuity in the earnings distribution around zero. These findings are of interest to researchers who use earnings properties as proxies for earnings quality and audit quality. However, we caution that our findings for China may not generalize to other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-562
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Accounting and Economics
Issue number2-3
Early online date28 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • earnings quality
  • audit adjustments


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