Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Comparative Quantitative Study of Private College Audit Fee Behavior in a Highly Regulated Environment
by Eldridge, Randy L., D.B.A., Northcentral University, 2012, 70; 3533663
Abstract (Summary)

Imposition of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on large public corporations has resulted in a significant increase in accounting, auditing, and reporting costs for the corporations affected. Although nonprofit organizations are exempt from that act, the potential for enacting similar legislation that would apply to them grows as questions about the integrity and professionalism of management in that sector arise. For some private, nonprofit higher education institutions, a significant increase in cost structure occasioned by such a new legislative regimen could be disastrous, since many of these institutions depend almost entirely upon tuition, fees and gift revenue for their financial well-being. Such unintended consequences, as well as the costs and benefits of such legislation, should be considered if future legislatures consider passage of similar acts.

This comparative quantitative study of a California state-imposed regulatory scheme (the California Nonprofit Integrity Act, or CNIA) modeled on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act provided evidence of how such a new mandate may drive up costs in the private higher education sector. Audit fee data from each of 64 private, nonprofit colleges in California was collected for the five years prior to and following the implementation of the CNIA, and the mean change in audit fees for the periods was calculated. Additionally, parallel data was gathered from each of 64 private, nonprofit colleges in Pennsylvania for the same periods, and mean change in audit fees for the periods was calculated. There was a significant impact on audit fees in California, t(126) = 2.70. p<.05, which indicated that the mean annual fee increases were higher in the period after the imposition of the CNIA than in the congruent period prior to its imposition.

Future research is still needed to expand the knowledge base in this area. Other states besides California have taken more limited steps to increase regulation in the nonprofit sector, and the impact of those states' regulatory regimen should be explored. A further study of the CNIA undertaken with additional years' data will also provide further data regarding its longer-term effect upon the higher education sector.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Blyler, Diane
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Accounting, Education finance, Public policy
Keywords: Audit fees, California Nonprofit Integrity Act, Nonprofit regulation, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Tax-exempt
Publication Number: 3533663
ISBN: 978-1-267-78179-6
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