Browsing by Subject "Earnings management"

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  • Sundvik, Dennis (2017-01-03)
    This study explores the link between earnings management and jurisdictional differences in book-tax conformity. A dataset of national reforms lowering the corporate tax rate is used to estimate the effect of conformity on private firm’s earnings management behavior when a specific incentive to manage earnings downward exists. Total and discretionary accruals are used to measure earnings management and a continuous measure is used to assess the level of book-tax conformity. Results suggest that changes in the statutory tax rate affect firms in jurisdictions with high book-tax conformity more than firms in jurisdictions with less book-tax conformity. However, more overall earnings management is attributed to firms in low conformity jurisdictions. These findings contribute to the ongoing debate on the appropriate level of book-tax conformity.
  • Haga, Jesper; Huhtamäki, Fredrik; Sundvik, Dennis (2021-02-13)
    In this study, we examine the relationship between employee effort within the firm and earnings management, using data on working hours and discretionary accruals. With higher employee effort, we find less earnings management among U.S. firms. This result is stronger when earnings are more predictable and persists after we control for endogeneity. We also find smaller earnings discontinuities with higher employee effort. Our domestic results remain the same with a global sample. Our results suggest that earnings management enables benchmark beating with greater precision than can high employee effort alone, but also that high-effort firms may be misclassified as earnings manipulators.
  • Haga, Jesper Per Alexander; Ittonen, Kim; Tronnes, Per Christen; Wong, Leon (2018)
    We argue that managers’ choice to manage earnings depends on the trade-off in the present value of expected future net benefits associated with that choice. Specifically, we examine if discount rates are associated with the likelihood that managers engage in earnings management to meet or beat various earnings targets. We find that discount rates are positively associated with income-increasing earnings management. This means that managers increase both accrual-based and real earnings management when discount rates are higher. However, the economic magnitude of this association is relatively moderate.
  • Fischer, Bianca; Gral, Bernadette; Lehner, Othmar (2020-05-27)
    Some issues of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 are still discussed controversially in literature. Thereof, Section 404 concerning internal control over financial reporting is one of the most criticized parts. This article focuses on costs and benefits of the section and impacts on earnings management. Most authors agree that compliance costs of Section 404 far outweigh its benefits. However, long-term benefits are expected. Regarding earnings management, studies show that the section has positive effects such as increased earnings quality and improved internal control systems. Although the section is heavily debated in literature, there is consensus that SOX Section 404 greatly contributed to the improvement of quality of financial reporting and of corporate governance as a whole.
  • Haga, Jesper Per Alexander; Höglund, Henrik; Sundvik, Dennis (2018-10-15)
    This study analyzes real earnings management among privately held versus publicly listed firms. Our first finding is that public firms engage in more earnings management through operating activities. When a clear incentive to manage earnings in a specific direction is present we continue to find that public firms manage their earnings more than private firms. We reason that capital market pressure and ownership characteristics drive our results. Additional analyses reveal that public firms employ more real earnings management as a proportion of the total earnings management strategy. Furthermore, we find that mitigating factors of real earnings management have stronger impact in public firms. This study contributes to literature on non-accrual earnings management and to the broader understanding about the private vis-à-vis public firm reporting and operating behavior. Finally, we contribute by identifying an important societal cost of stock market listing, which is the increase in potentially value-destroying real earnings management.
  • Sundvik, Dennis (2017-09-05)
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine three different responses to the Finnish 2005 tax reform that, among other things, reduced the corporate tax rate and hiked dividend taxation. Focus lies on the factors influencing the decision to change the fiscal year-end and whether earnings management is more prevalent when the decision is not taken. Design/methodology/approach This study uses the financial statement data of Finnish private firms and studies 350 fiscal year-end changing firms and 700 non-changing firms with logistic and linear regression analysis. Discretionary accruals are the proxy for earnings management. Findings The results suggest that firms seize the window of opportunity and extend fiscal years depending on the magnitude of the expected tax savings. Firms that do not change their fiscal year-end engage in more tax-induced earnings management. In terms of economic consequences, the earnings management approach is less economically significant. Research limitations/implications This study only examines a limited number of firms that change their fiscal year-end, hence, care has been exercised in generalising the findings. Practical implications The findings may be considered when structuring future tax reforms, particularly when considering transition rules relating to changes in fiscal year-ends. The study may also have implications beyond tax reforms since the evidence of opportunistic changes in the fiscal year-end can be informative for tax authorities, independent auditors and creditors. Originality/value This study contributes to the relatively scarce literature on private firm responses to tax policy changes by analysing both upward and downward earnings management, as well as changes in the fiscal year-end. This is in contrast to previous research that mainly focusses on listed firms and absolute earnings management or earnings management in one direction.
  • Sundvik, Dennis (2019-06-07)
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore whether principles-based vs rules-based accounting standards have an effect on measures of financial reporting quality and earnings management strategies. Design/methodology/approach This study uses a firm-year-specific variable that captures the extent to which firms’ accounting and operating behavior is affected by the characteristics of a specific standard in the USA. Measures of absolute accruals, financial misconducts, signed abnormal accruals and abnormal cash flows are used to assess the effects. Findings The results show that absolute magnitude of accruals and probability of financial misconduct is lower, and accrual earnings management is higher when firms’ standards are more based on principles. The study also suggests that potentially costlier real earnings management is a consequence of rules-based standards. Research limitations/implications This study relies heavily on measures from the prior accounting literature, hence, care has been exercised in generalizing the findings. Practical implications This study has direct implications for a number of stakeholders, including standard setters, policymakers, securities regulators, researchers, investors, financial statement preparers and auditors. For example, the future development of accounting standards can be supported by the empirical conclusions in this study together with previous standard-setting ambitions, commentaries, experiments and analytical work. Originality/value This study extends prior single-country studies on reporting quality and cross-country studies on transition effects of firms switching from local to International Accounting Standards by observing the impact of accounting standard characteristics on additional measures of reporting quality and accrual as well as real earnings management when holding institutional factors constant. The study also offers archival evidence complementing prior commentaries, experiments and analytical work.