SYNOPSIS

In this study, we examine whether the ability of working capital (WC) accruals to predict future earnings and cash flows differs between registrants whose auditors are subject to annual Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) inspections and those whose auditors are subject to triennial PCAOB inspections. We find that WC accruals of clients audited by auditors subject to annual PCAOB inspections enhance earnings persistence more and map into future cash flow realizations better than those audited by auditors subject to triennial PCAOB inspections. These findings are stronger for operating asset accruals than for operating liability accruals. Furthermore, after PCAOB inspection reports are released, improvements in WC accrual reliability are more evident for clients audited by annually inspected auditors than for clients audited by triennially inspected auditors. Overall, our findings suggest that more frequent PCAOB inspections help to improve WC accrual reliability.

JEL Classifications: M41; M42; M48.

Data Availability: The data are publicly available from the sources identified in the paper.

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