Audit Delay of Listed Companies: A Case of Malaysia

  •  Ayoib Che-Ahmad    
  •  Shamharir Abidin    


It is important to understand factors that influence audit delay since it directly affects the timeliness of financial reporting which is one of the most important qualitative attributes of financial statements (Ashton et. al., 1987; Carslaw & Kaplan, 1991; and Johnson, 1998).  A number of studies have investigated audit market research including the issue surrounding audit delay within the context of developed countries. However, audit market research in the developing countries is very limited despite calls in the literature to expand the scope of market studies to those nations (see for example, Simon et al. 1992; Walker and Johnson 1996; Che-Ahmad and Houghton 1996; Taylor 1997).  This study extends previous research by examining the determinants of audit delay in a developing country.  Malaysia is one such country that provides a rich setting for audit market research. It seeks to provide empirical evidence concerning audit delay of Malaysian public listed companies.

The findings indicated that the mean audit delay of Malaysian companies to be much longer than the delay in Western countries.  The multivariate analysis showed that director shareholdings, total assets, number of subsidiaries, type of audit firms, audit opinion and return on equity to be important determinants of audit delay. The regression results for non-banking and finance sectors were very similar. However, only director shareholding variable was found to be strongly significant in banking and finance sub-sample suggesting the importance of ownership structure in influencing audit lag in this sector. The differences in regulatory framework for both sectors could be a significant reason for the differences in the findings and warrant further research.

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