The current study examined several issues regarding auditor independence from the perspective of an emerging market such as Bahrain. Factors affecting the ability of auditors to remain independent include long audit tenure, financial dependence on a single audit client, non-audit services provided to audit clients, ex-auditor employment with an audit client and the existence of audit committees. It is therefore timely to examine the importance of auditor independence in the provision of reliable and credible financial information. The current study uses a questionnaire survey to examine auditors’ perceptions of the impact of mandatory audit firm rotation on auditor independence. The results of the study revealed that the majority of auditors agreed that MAR could safeguard auditor independence. The results also reveal that there is a significant relationship between mandatory audit firm rotation and auditor independence. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) were also conducted to test for the possibility of confounding effects arising from participants’ background and experience. None of these variables were found to have a confounding effect on the experimental results. The results also reveal that the adoption of rotation rules wasn’t given enough attention among the auditing firms in Bahrain.
Keywords: Mandatory audit firm rotation (MAR), auditor independence, Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), European Commission (EC) Government Accounting Office (GAO), Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).