Faculty Profile

Marleen Willekens

Adjunct Professor - Department of Accounting, Auditing and Business Analytics


Averhals, Liesbeth; Van Caneghem, Tom & Willekens, Marleen (2020)

Mandatory audit fee disclosure and price competition in the private client segment of the audit market.

Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation Doi: 10.1016/j.intaccaudtax.2020.100337

This study empirically examines whether mandatory audit fee disclosure affects audit pric-ing and price competition in the private client segment of the Belgian audit market. Weexpect price competition between auditors to intensify after mandatory public disclosureof audit fees because transparency of audit fee information is likely to increase client bar-gaining power and/or increase competitive pressure. Using a data set including both pre-and post-disclosure audit fees of private clients, we observe that subsequent to mandatorydisclosure of audit fees, clients with positive (negative) abnormal audit fees experience adownward (upward) fee adjustment. Consistent with increased price competition followingmandatory audit fee disclosure, clients with negative abnormal audit fees are better able tomitigate the upward fee adjustment if they have higher bargaining power or have an audi-tor facing stronger competitive pressure. These effects are largest in the initial disclosureyear, suggesting anticipatory price adjusting behavior by audit firms.

Willekens, Marleen; Dekeyser, Simon, Bruynseels, Liesbeth & Numan, Wieteke (2020)

Auditor Market Power and Audit Quality Revisited: Effects of Market Concentration, Market Share Distance, and Leadership

Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance Doi: 10.1177/0148558X20966249

Langli, John Christian & Willekens, Marleen (2018)

The Economics of Auditor Regulation

Sasson, Amir (red.). At the Forefront, Looking Ahead: Research-Based Answers to Contemporary Uncertainties of Management

Dekeyser, Simon; Gaeremynck, Ann & Willekens, Marleen (2018)

Evidence of Industry Scale Effects on Audit Hours, Billing Rates, and Pricing

Contemporary Accounting Research Doi: 10.1111/1911-3846.12460 - Full text in research archive

Using a proprietary dataset consisting of all private firm audit engagements in 2000 from one Big 4 firm in Belgium, we investigate: (1) whether audit office industry scale is associated with a reduction of total, partner and staff audit hours and thus with efficiency gains triggered by organizational learning from servicing more clients in an industry; and (2) whether the extent of efficiency pass‐on from the auditor to its clients depends on the audit firm's market power. We find that auditor office industry scale is associated with efficiency gains and a reduction of the variable costs (i.e., fewer total audit hours, partner hours, and staff hours), ceteris paribus. Our results also suggest that, on average, realized efficiencies are entirely passed on as evidenced by a non‐significant effect of auditor industry scale on the auditor's billing rate. Furthermore, we find that the extent of the efficiency pass‐on decreases with the market power of the audit firm in the industry market segment as we document a higher billing rate for auditors with high market power (versus low market power). In addition, we find that the lower audit hours associated with auditor industry scale do not compromise audit quality.

Dutillieux, Wouter; Francis, Jere R. & Willekens, Marleen (2016)

The Spillover of SOX on Earnings Quality in Non-U.S. Jurisdictions

Accounting Horizons, 30(1), s. 23- 39. Doi: 10.2308/acch-51241

Langli, John Christian & Willekens, Marleen (2017)

Tax Avoidance, Ownership Patterns and High-Quality Auditing in Private Firms.

[Academic lecture]. EARNet 2017.

Academic Degrees
Year Academic Department Degree
1995 University of Warwick, Warwick Business School Ph.D.
1987 University of Gent M.A. in Business Economics
1985 University of Gent B.A. in Economics
Work Experience
Year Employer Job Title
2012 - Present BI Norwegian Business School Adjunct professor
2009 - Present KULeuven Chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Insurance (AFI),
2008 - Present KULeuven Professor of Accounting and Auditing
2006 - 2008 Tilburg University Professor of Auditing
2003 - 2006 KULeuven Professor of Accounting and Auditing
1998 - 2003 KULeuven Associate Professor of Accounting
1995 - 1997 KULeuven Assistant Professor of Accounting
1988 - 1989 Bank Brussels Lambert (ING) Analyst