Grant Thornton commissioned two research studies to ask if a company can switch from a Big Four audit firm to another qualified global, national or regional firm -- such as say, Grant Thornton -- without affecting stock price.

Dr. Scott Whisenant, who is affiliated with the University of Houston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found no evidence that companies' stock price declined when they announced a change from a Big Four firm to Grant Thornton. Whisenant studied 244 public companies that changed audit firms from Jan. 1, 2002, to May 23, 2006. The findings were consistent regardless of company size, industry or geography.

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