The purpose of this paper is to evaluate whether the expanded requirements of SAS No. 59 (A/CPA ), which requires auditors to actively evaluate and report on a client's going-concern status for the coming year, have allowed investors to make more accurate ex ante assessments of firms that eventually file for bankruptcy. We extend Chen and Church  (hereafter CC), who conclude that SAS No. 34 (AICPA ) "subject to" going-concern opinions have information value because they reduce the surprise associated with bankruptcy announcements. We hypothesize that if SAS No. 59 has achieved what was intended, going-concern opinions issued under SAS No. 59 should further reduce investor surprise at bankruptcy announcements. While we do not believe SAS No. 59 was issued for the specific purpose of helping users to predict bankruptcy, we do suggest that the increased auditor responsibility and improved communication should provide users with information that is of relatively higher quality. This argument is based on a number of important differences between SAS No. 34 and SAS No. 59.
Holder-Webb, L.M., & Wilkins, M.S. (2000). The incremental information content of SAS no. 59 going-concern opinions. Journal of Accounting Research, 38(1), 209-219. doi: 10.2307/2672929
Journal of Accounting Research