This research examines the extent to which the perceived credibility of a corporation's audited financial statements is a function of the public's perception of the corporation's leadership and/or the auditor's independence. We look specifically at the public image of the CEO as projected in the press, and the perception of auditor independence as projected by mandated public information about non-audit services. We conducted an experiment to examine these two types of publicly available information for their potential effect on the perceived confidence that third year law students have in corporate financial information. The results reveal that even in an environment fully compliant with Sarbanes-Oxley (2002) reforms, public perceptions of the integrity of management and the independence of auditors influence individuals' confidence in the financial statements. The implications of this research for practice and for future research are also discussed.
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