We show that increased audit effort is associated with lower annual report readability to compensate for a perceived increase in the risk of financial misstatement for United States (US) firms. In particular, we find that lower annual report readability is associated with longer audit delays and higher audit fees for Form 10-K for US auditors, suggesting that auditors spend more effort auditing clients when annual reports have lower readability. We also find that low readability increases the likelihood of auditors using more explanatory language in unqualified audit reports.
- Audit fees
- Audit report lag
- Unqualified audit reports with additional language