Internal Control Weakness: A Literature Review

Yu Lu, Diandian Ma


The purpose of this essay is to review empirical literature on internal control weakness over the past seven years. I use an analysis framework consisting of determinants (corporate governance and other affecting factors) and economic consequences (accounting information quality, market reaction, cost of equity, debt contracting) of weakness disclosure and its remediation. Basic findings of prior studies agree that corporate governance and firm characteristics influence the presence of control problems and their remediation. In turn, the effectiveness of internal control impacts the quality of financing reporting, auditor reaction (auditing fees and audit delays), insider trading and leads to capital market consequences (the weakness disclosures affect debt contracting). More internal control studies combine with capital market and provide evidence that SOX are not always effective. Overall, these findings contribute to profession by suggesting that the disclosures of internal control deficiencies generally convey incremental information on the quality of financial reporting to investors. This review integrates and assesses current internal control weakness research and offers some suggestions for future study.

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