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Reaching Key Financial Reporting Decisions: How Directors and Auditors Interact by Tony Hines, Vivien Beattie, Stella Fearnley

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3

The Survey

3.1 OVERVIEW

In this chapter, we present a summary of the relevant aspects of the questionnaire stage of our study. CFOs, ACCs and AEPs reported on audit committee characteristics and the frequency with which 35 financial statement issues were discussed, negotiated and resulted in a change to the accounting numbers and/or disclosures. First, the methods used are outlined, then the results are summarized and discussed. Where relevant reference is made to a previous study carried out by Beattie, Fearnley and Brandt (2000).

3.2 METHODS

A questionnaire was sent to three samples in June 2007: CFOs, ACCs and AEPs of domestic, officially listed UK companies (excluding AIM companies and investment trusts). The sample covered the top 250 qualifying companies by market capitalization (as at 5 February 2007) and a systematic sample of 250 from the remaining qualifying companies. Questionnaires to CFOs and ACCs were sent to the same companies. To eliminate multiple selections of ACCs, the final sample sent out to this group was reduced to 446 as it was felt that an ACC would not be prepared to fill in more than one survey. To identify suitable AEPs acting for qualifying companies and facilitate the distribution of the questionnaire, we were assisted by 11 large audit firms. As listed company audit partners could not be publicly identified at the time, the firms identified 439 listed company AEPs to whom questionnaires were sent and returned direct to us. The AEPs were asked to ...

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