Subordination of judgment is a fundamental threat to auditor objectivity. Subordination of judgment occurs when auditors agree with their superiors either in spite of or without forming their own independent judgments. Many audit procedures rely on independent, critical thinking at every level of the audit team; however, a number of studies suggest that auditors tend to agree with superiors even when a superior's views clearly run contrary to generally accepted accounting principles. While there is general agreement among scholars that subordination of judgment is "bad," very little attention has been given to moral biases that might influence an auditor's tendency to subordination of judgment, or to potential remedies that could mitigate an auditor's tendency to subordinate judgment. Moral Foundations Theory suggests that individuals tend to make intuitive, normative evaluations of situations based upon a set of personal moral biases or preferences called "moral foundations." Two specific moral foundations could influence subordination of judgment in divergent ways. The moral foundation of loyalty-respect may make agreement with a superior's views seem more acceptable than would disagreement. Meanwhile, the moral foundation of fairness may make an auditor more sensitive to the observance of rules, resulting in less subordination of judgment when a superior's views run contrary to professional rules. Social Identity Theory suggests that in-group favoritism may exacerbate subordination of judgment in general; however, strengthening an auditor's professional identity salience (PIS) could strengthen an auditor's objectivity. PIS is the temporary, heightened awareness of an auditor's identity as a professional and their role as guardian of professional rules. As a result, PIS may interact with an auditor's innate sense of fairness, resulting in less subordination of judgment than when professional identity is less salient. Results supported the hypothesis that auditors tend to subordinate their judgment to that of a superior, but not that PIS ...
Tax evasion is a serious issue that influences governmental revenues, IRS enforcement strategies, and tax policy decisions. While audits are the most effective method of enforcing compliance, they are expensive to conduct and the IRS is only able to audit a fraction of the returns filed each year. This suggests that audits alone are not sufficient to curb the billions of dollars of tax evaded by taxpayers each year and that a better understanding of factors influencing compliance decisions is needed to enable policymakers to craft tax policies that maximize voluntary compliance. Prior research tends to model compliance as economic, environmental, or personal decisions; however, this study models it as a multifaceted decision where these three perspective individually and interactively influence compliance. It is the first to decompose perceived detection risk into two dimensions (selection risk and enforcement risk) and investigates how these two dimensions of risk, decision domains (refund or tax due positions), and three personal factors (mental accounting, narcissism, and proactivity) influence taxpayers’ compliance decisions. I conducted a 2x2 fully crossed experiment involving 331 self-employed taxpayers. These taxpayers have opportunities to evade that employed taxpayers do not. For example, they can earn cash income that is not reported to the IRS by third parties. For self-employed taxpayers (especially those wanting to evade), perceived selection and enforcement risks may be distinctly different depending on a taxpayer’s situation, what they believe they can control, and what risk they are willing to accept. For example, selection risk may be perceived as the greatest risk for those with unreported items on their return, while enforcement risk may be more prominent for those perceiving certain levels of selection risk. Thus, I believe self-employed taxpayers are the most appropriate population to sample from and are likely have reasonable variation in the three personal factors ...
Many external parties such as investors, creditors, and regulatory agencies, use a company’s financial statements in their decision-making. In doing so, they rely on audit opinions on whether financial statements are fairly stated. However, evidence suggests that there are factors in the audit environment that influence auditor judgments. For example, nondiagnostic client information dilutes auditor judgments when compared to judgments based on diagnostic information alone, especially for less experienced auditors (Hackenbrack 1992; Hoffman and Patton 1997; Glover 1994; Shelton 1999). High time pressure conditions mitigate this effect by refocusing auditor attention toward relevant client information, therefore reducing the impact of nondiagnostic information (Glover 1994, 1997). This research study examines other common audit environment factors to determine if they too influence audit judgment results. An online questionnaire of 149 auditors, CPAs and other accounting professionals indicate that the inclusion of nondiagnostic client information results in a significant change in auditor judgments. The direction of this change follows a theorized pattern; risk assessments that were initially high are reduced, while those that were initially low are increased. Significance was not consistently found for a workload and PCAOB effect on auditor judgment. However, a comparison of the absolute value of dilution effect means across conditions reveals some trending for the proposed unwanted effect of high workload, and the beneficial effect of PCAOB guidance. These results have important implications for auditing research and practice. It extends previous archival research on workload effects and uses a unique questionnaire design to reexamine workload pressures in a behavioral setting. The results of hypothesis testing on workload pressure and PCAOB guidance, although lacking consistent statistical significance; exhibit trends that agree with proposed theoretical relationships. Tests on the effects of nondiagnostic information show strong statistical support for previous studies in the area of psychology and audit. This study’s greatest ...
In this study, I investigate the effect of auditor-provided tax services (ATS) on firms’ levels of book-tax differences and investors’ mispricing of book-tax differences. The joint provision of audit and tax services has been a controversial issue among regulators and academic researchers. Evidence on whether ATS improve or impair the overall accounting quality is inconclusive as a result of the specific testing circumstances involved in different studies. Book-tax differences capture managers’ earnings management and/or tax avoidance intended to maximize reported financial income and to minimize tax expense. Therefore, my first research question investigates whether ATS improve or impair audit quality by examining the relation between ATS and firms’ levels of book-tax differences. My results show that ATS are negatively related to book-tax differences, suggesting that ATS improve the overall audit quality and reduce aggressive financial and/or tax reporting. My second research question examines whether the improved earnings quality for firms acquiring ATS leads to reduced mispricing of book-tax differences among investors. Recent studies document that despite the rich information about firms’ future earnings contained in book-tax differences, investors process such information inefficiently, leading to systematic pricing errors among firms with large book-tax differences. My empirical evidence indicates that ATS mitigate such mispricing, with pricing errors being lower among firms acquiring ATS compared with firms without ATS. Collectively, these results support the notion that ATS improve audit quality through knowledge spillover. Moreover, the improved earnings quality among firms acquiring ATS in turn helps reduce investors’ mispricing of book-tax differences.
Client inquiry is a fundamental procedure for gathering audit evidence. Since inquiries are not audio- or video-recorded in practice, auditor memory is vital to the accuracy of evidence gathered in this manner. Due to the potential for error during memory encoding and retrieval, the effect of memory on judgment, and the cognitive complexity of conducting a face-to-face inquiry, examining factors affecting auditor memory of client inquiries is important. In this dissertation, I examine two factors likely to affect auditor memory of a client inquiry. First, encoding style is a low-level cognitive function representing how much stimuli an individual perceives before applying prior knowledge (schemata) to assist with encoding to long-term memory, affecting information noticed and remembered. Differences in auditors’ encoding style may explain variance in memory accuracy of evidence gathered from a client inquiry. Second, audit professionals often make hand-written or typed notes during client inquiries, and subsequently review the notes, which may affect memory. To address these issues, I first gather interview evidence from six professional auditors to determine how practicing auditors plan, prepare for, conduct, and document evidence from client inquiries. I then develop and execute a video-based experiment with 33 senior auditor participants, 23 masters-level accounting students, and 47 undergraduate-level accounting students to investigate whether encoding style and note taking affect auditor memory accuracy of, and audit judgments resulting from, a client inquiry. I find multiple significant results. First, I find that encoding style affects memory accuracy such that auditors quickly utilizing prior knowledge during an inquiry results in greater memory accuracy than auditors slowly utilizing prior knowledge. This finding suggests that quickly utilizing prior knowledge helps auditors to manage the cognitive complexity of a client inquiry. Second, I find that participants who take notes during an inquiry, and subsequently review his or her notes taken, have ...
The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of U.S. firms’ geographic location, whether urban or rural, on their corporate disclosure and governance practices. An “urban” firm is one that is headquartered in a large metropolitan area; whereas, a “rural” firm is one that is headquartered some distance from any metropolitan area. Specifically, the study examines whether there are different stock market reactions to urban and rural firms around key event dates relative to the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) on July 30, 2002. Also, the readability and linguistic style in the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) section of public company’s annual reports (Form 10-K) to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are investigated to determine whether urban and rural firms communicate information differently to investors.
The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the influences of industry dynamic factors (e.g., peer selections) on a client’s subsequent decision to select the type of auditor (e.g., Big N versus non-Big N), following auditor turnover. More specifically, drawing on social norms and social learning theories, I develop testable implications and investigate whether and how industry dynamics have an incremental power in explaining auditor choice beyond traditional firm-specific variables documented in prior research. Using a large sample from years 1988 – 2012, I find that clients are more likely to imitate their industry peers’ prior selections to select the type of their succeeding auditors, consistent with the implications of social learning theory. I also find that clients in industries with stronger industry norms, as measured by a greater proportion of clients audited by Big N auditors in an industry, are more likely to select Big N auditors as their succeeding auditors, consistent with the implications of social norms theory. To my best knowledge, this is the first study to explore the impact of social dynamics measured at the industry level on auditor selection and provide large-sample evidence on the relations between industry dynamics and auditor selection at the firm level. Findings of this study provide insights into the dynamic process of auditor selection in which companies do not make auditor-selection decisions in isolation of one another as often posited in existing literature, contribute to the research on the determinants of auditor choice by incorporating industry dynamics into an agent-principal model, and provide a more comprehensive view of the phenomenon of auditor selection.
Management control systems perform a vital role in facilitating the accomplishment of organizational objectives. To effectively align the objectives of employees with those of the organization, firms balance multiple control mechanisms to encourage organizationally desired behaviors and discourage undesired behaviors. The purpose of my dissertation was two-fold. First, I assessed how changes in monitoring frequency influenced employee behaviors and the overall function of the management control system. Second, I investigated the effects of stretch goals on behavior to determine whether stretch goals can lead to harmful behaviors and whether continuous monitoring can mitigate these behaviors. Results suggest that individuals exert more effort when assigned a stretch or difficult goal compared to an easy goal. My study also finds that stretch goals can be harmful because of their effect on risk taking, goal commitment, and job insecurity. Finally, results indicate that accountability mediates the monitoring frequency-risk taking relationship such that continuous monitoring increases accountability and accountability decreases risk taking. However, the ability of monitoring frequency to decrease risk taking may depend on numerous factors. Results from this study allow practitioners to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing continuous monitoring systems and the combined effects of using these systems in conjunction with compensation systems. Consequently, this study highlights necessary considerations for practitioners during the implementation continuous monitoring systems. The study also informs practitioners of the potentially harmful effects of stretch goals, the conditions under which they occur, and the possible ways to mitigate these effects.
The objectives of this study were twofold. One objective was to analyze the effects of growth in the social security tax, when combined with recent changes in U.S. income tax law, on the distribution of the combined income and social security tax burden during the 1980s. The second objective was to estimate the effects of certain proposals for social security tax reform upon that distribution. The above analyses were performed using simulation techniques applied to the 1984 IRS Individual Tax Model File. The data from this file were used to estimate the income and social security tax liabilities for sample taxpayers under tax law in effect in 1980, 1984 and 1988 and under fourteen proposals for social security reform (under 1988 law). The results indicated that the income tax distribution was almost 25 percent more progressive under 1988 tax law than under 1980 tax law. In contrast, the combined distribution of income and social security taxes was almost 25 percent less progressive under 1988 income and social security tax law relative to 1980. Two types of social security tax reform were analyzed. One type consisted of reforms to the basic social security tax structure, such as removal of the earnings ceiling, provision of exemptions and replacement of the current single tax rate with a two-tiered graduated rate structure. The second type of reform consisted of proposals to expand the theoretical tax base subject to the social security levy. The results suggested that these reforms could generate substantial increases in progressivity in the combined tax distribution. In general, it would appear that changes in the social security tax structure could generate greater improvements in progressivity than expansion of the theoretical tax base, although the greatest improvement was associated with a combination of these two reforms. With regard to horizontal equity, expansion ...
This dissertation attempts to provide an exploratory structure to respond to, and tries to resolve, an existing void in international accounting research. The void is a lack of coherently structured, nation-specific, descriptive research to investigate socio-economic phenomena which may influence financial accounting. This dissertation's salient features include a political economy theory, an exploratory, sociological method, and a case study format. The political economy of accounting, introduced by Tinker  and refined by Cooper and Sherer , emphasizes a persuasive social relations dimension. This theory motivates selection of three countries (the United States, France, and Japan) that appear to have divergent socio-cultural environments. An exploratory and analytical approach of modified (enlarged) exogenism, developed by Smith [1973, 1976] and adapted to accounting by McKinnon , provides an analytic structure for this exploratory investigation. Modified exogenism focuses upon an open, dynamic social system (the process of financial accounting), and provides analysis reflecting four major areas (the environment, intrusive events, intra-system activity, and trans-system activity). After examining the nation-specific financial accounting (socio-economic) structures for each country, an analysis of selected financial disclosures attempts to gain a better understanding of how socio-economic factors have influenced the development of financial accounting. My primary objective is to attempt to provide some insight about ,how diverse socio-political factors have impacted the development of financial accounting in three countries. Library research of nation-specific literature attempts to extract a relatively accurate picture of social, political, and economic institutions and policies, and relates such findings to financial accounting processes for each nation. This dissertation attempts to provide a necessary foundation for future theoretical international accounting harmonization studies.
The two problems which motivate this research concern the role of managerial accounting information in performance evaluation. The first problem is that the processing of accounting information by individual managers may deviate from a normative (Bayesian) pattern. Second, managers' use of accounting information in performance appraisal may contribute to conflict between superiors and subordinates. In this research, I applied the contrast-inertia model (C-IM) and attribution theory (AT) to predict how accounting information affects managers' beliefs about the causes for observed performance. The C-IM describes how new evidence is incorporated into opinions. Application of the C-IM leads to the prediction that information order may influence managers' opinions. Attribution theory is concerned with how people use information to assign causality, especially for success or failure. Together, the C-IM and AT imply that causal beliefs of superiors and subordinates diverge when they assimilate accounting information. Three experiments were performed with manufacturing managers as subjects. Most of the subjects were middle-level production managers from Texas manufacturing plants. The subjects used accounting information in revising their beliefs about causes for performance problems. In the experiments, the manipulated factors were the order of information, subject role (superior or subordinate), and the position of different types of information. The experimental results were analyzed by repeated measures analyses of variance, in which the dependent variable was an opinion or the change in an opinion over a series of evidence items. The experimental results indicate that the order of mixed positive and negative information affects beliefs in performance evaluation. For mixed evidence, there was significant divergence of opinions between superiors and subordinates. The results provide little evidence that superior and subordinate roles bias the belief updating process. The experiments show that belief revision in performance evaluation deviates from the normative standard, and that the use of accounting information may ...
The federal income tax system in the United States depends upon a high degree of voluntary compliance. The IRS estimates that the voluntary compliance level is declining and that this tax compliance gap cost the government an estimated $90.5 billion in 1981. Between 1979 and 1982, Congress made several changes in the tax laws designed to improve tax compliance. Extensive data was collected by the IRS for 1979 and 1982 through the random sample audits of approximately 50,000 taxpayers on the Taxpayer Compliance Measurement Program (TCMP), which is conducted every three years. During the period 1979 through 1982, Congress lowered the marginal tax rates, added some fairly severe penalties, for both taxpayers and paid return preparers, and increased information reporting requirements for certain types of income. In this research, it was hypothesized that voluntary compliance should increase in response to lower marginal rates, a higher risk of detection due to additional reporting requirements, and increased penalties. Multiple regression analysis was employed to test these hypotheses, using 1979 and 1982 TCMP data. Because of the requirements for taxpayer confidentiality, it was necessary for the IRS to run the data and provide the aggregate data results for the research. The results provided insight into the effectiveness of tax compliance legislation. While the overall voluntary compliance level (VCL) increased from 1979 to 1982 by 1.53 per cent, the VCL increase for taxpayers in high marginal rates was much smaller (.42 percent) than the overall increase. This is very inconsistent with the notion that high marginal rates are driving noncompliance, and suggests that marginal rates may not be strong determinants of compliance. Probably other factors, such as opportunity for evasion, may be more important. There was little change from 1979 to 1982 of the compliance of returns done by paid return preparers. Because of ...
The Financial Accounting Standards Board is a private sector rule making body. Congressional inquiries have questioned whether the setting of accountin standards should remain in the private sector. Congressional critics have charged that the FASB has been captured by special interests and recommended that a governmental agency assume responsibility for standard setting. Specifically, critics charge that large corporations capture the Big Eight accounting firms who, in turn, have captured the FASB. Previous capture studies have concluded that the standard setting process is pluralistic and that the FASB has not been captured. The studies have focused on the influence of the Big Eight to determine if the FASB has been captured. They assume if standards do not reflect the expressed preferences of the Big Eight, then Congressional criticisms are invalid. The studies also assume a unidirectional influence between participants in the process and have ignored the intensity of preferences of the respondents.The purpose of this study is to provide a theoretical framework to specify selection of standards that would be expected to be subject to capture. This framework also recognizes the duo-directional nature of influence. The allegations of capture were tested using the standards selected in accordance with the theoretical framework. The following hypotheses were tested. HO_1 There is no positive statistically significant relationship between clients' preferences and an accounting firm's support for an outcome. HO_2 There is no positive statistically significant relationship between the preferences of large corporations and standards enacted by the FASB. HO_3 There is no positive statistically significant relationship between the preferences of the Big Eight firms and the standards enacted by the FASB. These hypotheses were tested for each Big Eight accounting firms and for each standard. A logist procedure was employed. The results of the tests, with three exceptions, indicate that any relationships that occurred ...
The purpose of this study is to determine whether oil and gas producing companies smooth their ending reserve quantities. Smoothing is defined as a reduction in variance in the trend of ending reserve quantities over time compared to the trend of ending reserve quantities less the hypothesized smoothing variable over time. This study focuses on two variables that are most susceptible to manipulation—revisions of previous estimates and additions. This study also examines whether revisions are positively or negatively biased and the variability of the revisions. The sample consists of 70 companies chosen from oil & Gas Reserve Disclosures: 1980-1984 Survey of 400 Public Companies by Arthur Andersen and Company. For each company, ending reserve quantities for the years 1978-1984 were regressed over time, and the standard deviation of the estimate (SDE) was calculated. Then the ending reserve quantities less the hypothesized smoothing variable were regressed over time, and the SDE was calculated. A linear model and a semi-logarithmic model were used. A smoothing ratio (SR) was determined by dividing the SDE of reserves less the hypothesized smoothing variable by the SDE of ending reserve quantities. An SR greater than one indicates smoothing, and an SR less than one indicates that smoothing did not occur. The mean percentage revision and a t-test were used to test for positive or negative bias in the revisions. The mean absolute percentage revision was used to assess the relative variability of revisions. The number of companies classified as smoothers of oil reserves was statistically significant for the semi-logarithmic model but not for the linear model. Under both models the number of companies classified as smoothers of gas reserves was statistically significant. Few companies had mean percentage revisions that were significantly different from zero. The majority of companies had mean absolute revisions of under ten percent.
This dissertation is a descriptive, exploratory examination of professional commitment, organizational commitment, and conflict between those commitments in the internal audit profession. That conflict has been suggested in prior studies as the source of dysfunctional outcomes such as increased role stress, high turnover, decreased job satisfaction, and the exercise of improper judgment leading to audit failures. The descriptive aspect of this study deals with the development of a more comprehensive structural model of the factors and relationships involved in commitment and conflict than has been developed by previous research dealing with accountants. The exploratory aspect deals with the testing and refinement of the developed model utilizing the internal audit profession as the field of examination. The model developed in this study is derived from the synthesis of factors suggested by role theory, the concept of side bets, the cosmopolitan-local construct, and the concept of commitment as a process. This research utilizes a questionnaire administered to 205 practicing internal auditors in order to test 30 hypothesized relationships. Path analysis is used to determine the significant direct relationships between variables with a process of theory trimming being conducted in order to produce more parsimonious structural models. Indirect relationships between significant variables are identified and their redundant or suppressive nature determined. Explanations of these suppressive or redundant relationships are provided based on the theoretical considerations identified above. Such a determination and explanation of the redundant and suppressive indirect relationships involved in the commitment-conflict relationship has not been accomplished in earlier studies of the subject. Although the procedures used here do not support causal conclusions, the findings of this study indirectly provide evidence that conflict between the two commitments in the internal audit area is not to be considered inherent. The findings also suggest a possible undesirable relationship between organizational formalization and professional commitment.
This study used protocol analysis to identify key variables in the venture capital investment decision-making process. The study used a fictional business plan which was based on six actual business plans. This fictional business plan was presented to ten venture capitalists who were asked to review it to decide whether to interview the investee. The protocols obtained from these subjects were analyzed to determine patterns within the subjects' review. The sections of the business plan which were commonly reviewed first were the deal structure, the executive summary, and the management section. The management section was used by the greatest number of subjects. The market section was used the greatest number of times. The data were also organized by type of operators used in each subject's protocols. Information Search/Retrieval operators were most common, followed by Task Structuring/Set Goal operators. When classified into the four major categories of Task Structuring/Set Goal, Information Acquisition, Analytical/ Inferential, and Choice operators, Analytical/Inferential operators were used most frequently. Choice operators were least used. The phrases were analyzed by the relevant section in the business plan. The market received the greatest number of references, followed by references to the product and to management. However, when references to the income statement and balance sheet were combined as phrases relevant to the financial statements, the financial statements were referred to more frequently than the product or the people. The subjects appeared to use an unidentified choice program within which certain models could be identified as subroutines. The subjects used an elimination-by-aspects model to screen the business plan. If the business plan met the criteria within the elimination-by-aspects model of the subject, the subject used an additive/nonlinear model for the remainder of the review. The results of this study indicate that financial statements provide information important in the venture capital ...
Many taxing authorities, including those in the United States (U.S.), rely on voluntary tax compliance and continually search for ways to increase tax revenues. Most of these methods are costly and labor intensive, such as audits and penalties for noncompliance. Prior tax compliance research has heavily investigated the influence that economic factors, such as tax rates and penalties, have on individual compliance intentions. However, economic models fail to fully predict individual tax compliance. Psychology literature suggests that social factors may also play an important role in individual tax compliance decisions. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence that social and psychological factors have on individuals' tax compliance intentions. Specifically, a model of taxpayer compliance is hypothesized that suggests that norms, perceived fairness of the tax system, and trust in government have a significant influence on compliance intentions. Results of a survey of 217 U.S. taxpayers found support for the influence of social factors on tax compliance. This research concludes that social norms have an indirect influence on compliance intentions through internalization as personal norms. Specifically, as the strength of social norms in favor of tax compliance increase, personal norms of tax compliance also increase, and this leads to a subsequent increase in compliance intentions. This dissertation also finds that trust in government and the perceived fairness of the tax system have a significant influence on compliance intentions. Supplemental analyses indicate that trust in government fully mediates the relationship between perceived fairness of the tax system and compliance intentions. This research offers several contributions to accounting literature and provides valuable insight for taxing authorities. First, this study examines taxpayer compliance from a psychological, rather than an economics driven, perspective. The suggested model of taxpayer compliance posits that social norms have a significant influence on compliance intentions. This information ...
In 1990, the accounting profession and the British government worked together to establish a new regulatory framework for financial reporting in the United Kingdom (UK), the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and its two subsidiaries, the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) and the Financial Reporting Review Panel (FRRP). The FRRP enforces companies' compliance with the ASB's accounting standards and the accounting provisions of the UK Companies Act. Only one study, Brandt et al. (1997), has examined the activities and effectiveness of the FRRP. This dissertation attempts to extend Brandt et. al (1997) and add to understanding of the origins and regulatory actions of the FRRP.
The purpose of this study was to try to identify the impact of ambiguity and risk on the auditor's judgment about inherent risk and control risk when planning the audit. A second purpose was to determine how ambiguity tolerance/intolerance affects judgment.
Auditors form judgments by integrating the evidence they gather with information stored in memory (knowledge). As they acquire experience, auditors have the opportunity to learn how different patterns of evidence are associated with particular audit problems. Research in experimental psychology has demonstrated that individuals with task-specific experience can match the cues they encounter with patterns they have learned, and form judgments without consciously analyzing the individual cues. Accounting researchers have suggested that auditors develop judgment templates through task-specific experience, and that these knowledge structures automatically provide decisions in familiar situations. I examined whether auditor knowledge leads to reliance on judgment templates. To test this thesis, I synthesized a theoretical framework and developed research hypotheses that predict relationships between task-specific experience (my surrogate for knowledge) and (1) measures of cognitive effort, (2) accuracy of residual memory traces, and (3) performance with respect to identifying potential problems. To test these predictions, I provided senior auditors with comprehensive case materials for a hypothetical client and asked them to use analytical procedures to identify potential audit problems. Subjects acquired information and documented their findings on personal computers using software that I developed to record their activities.
This dissertation presents empirical evidence intended to help answer two research questions. The first question asks whether executive compensation systems appear to exploit the bias in accounting-based performance measures in order to reduce the volatility in executive compensation and to allocate incentives more effectively across the range of activities performed by the executive. The second question asks whether compensation systems systematically differ between firms that use alternative accounting methods and whether any such systematic difference helps explain accounting choice. Parameters estimated in fixed-effects endogenous switching regression models were used to test the risk-shielding and incentive-allocation hypotheses. The models were estimated across a dataset consisting of 1151 executive-year observations of annual compensation paid to 222 top-level executives in 40 oil and gas firms. The dataset was partitioned by accounting method and separate models estimated for the full cost and successful efforts partitions. The tests provided modest support for the risk-shielding and incentive-allocation hypotheses, revealing that accounting measurement bias is used to focus incentives for effort in the exploration activity and to reduce executives' exposure to production risk. The design also allowed an estimate of the proportional change in compensation that was realized from the accounting choice actually made.
Many corporate managers elect to adopt a new Statement of Financial Accounting Standard (SFAS) early instead of waiting until the mandatory adoption date. This study tests for evidence that managers use early adoption as an earnings management tool in a manner consistent with one or more positive accounting theories.
This study uses concurrent verbal protocol analysis to examine the decision processes of lenders as they evaluate the financial information of a loan applicant. Of specific interest is the lenders' use of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards Board No. 95 (FAS 95), Statement of Cash Flows, in that decision process.
The study addresses whether differently ordered accounts receivable workprograms and task experience relate to differences in judgments, confidence levels, and recall ability. The study also assesses how treated and untreated inexperienced and experienced auditors store and recall accounts receivable workprogram steps in memory in a laboratory environment. Additionally, the question whether different levels of experienced auditors can effectively be manipulated is also addressed.
This historical study examines the evolution of the accounting system of the Quincy Mining Company between 1846 and 1900. The external financial reporting practices and internal accounting procedures of the firm are defined and interpreted in the context of three time periods that portray the formation, growth and maturation of the firm. Each period reflects unique economic and social conditions that are associated with changes in the firm's accounting system. A cross temporal analysis of these changes highlights three factors: the relationship between the accounting system and the labor force, the emergence of accounting as a control mechanism and the diminishing informational content of the firm's annual reports. Primary sources are used to document the perspectives of the Quincy management and to assess the motivations for accounting processes such as internal control, auditing procedures, responsibility centers and other managerial practices. This study addresses the inherent nature of accounting information and its relationship to the economic and social environment of an individual firm in the nineteenth century.
The purpose of this study was to identify company characteristics associated with the presence of disclosures regarding internal control in the annual report. Gibbins, Richardson and Waterhouse  have developed a framework from which to examine financial disclosure,. These authors define two dimensions of a company's disclosure position; opportunism and ritualism. I examined the association between variables representing the dimensions identified by these authors and a company's decision regarding disclosure of a management report on internal control. I compared specific characteristics of companies disclosing this information to those of companies not disclosing. The dependent variable represented the presence or absence of disclosure. I used logit analysis to test the significance of the chosen characteristics relative to the decision to include or exclude a management report on internal control in the annual report. My results were consistent with the existence of ritualism with respect to this issue. Reporting on internal controls was associated with membership in the Financial Executives Institute, auditor choice, certain industry designations and prior inclusion of such a report. FEI membership was closely related to initial reporting decisions as well'. I found evidence of opportunism as well. The likelihood of reporting on internal controls was related to company size (and presumably control strength), and growth rates. I also found an association between reporting and the issuance of publicly traded securities in the succeeding year and more moderate levels of debt relative to an industry average. In addition, I found that initial reporting decisions were associated with external events relating to potential legislation of the reporting issue. This research provides insight into the corporate response to reporting on internal controls.
George O. May's (1952) prescient statement that "if accounting had not already become, it was well on its way to becoming a political phenomenon" provides the motivation for this study. Changing socioeconomic relationships in the post-World War II period make it an ideal period to examine the politicalization of accounting. Keynesian economic policies justified active government intervention in the economy to manage demand and ensure full employment. No longer could it be assumed that competitive market forces would ensure that corporations produced goods and services at a socially optimal level or that income would be distributed equitably. Claims that accounting profit provides a measure of managerial efficiency are based on these premises. This dissertation examines the political dynamics of one particular accounting measurement debate--the debate over the determination of business income. Policies, such as wage/price controls, the excess profits tax, and the undistributed profits tax, brought the accounting income determination debate to center stage. The perseverance of the historic cost allocation model in the face of significant economic changes presents a fascinating glimpse of the important role accounting played in justifying continued reliance on the private property rights paradigm. I use retrodiction (reasoning from present to past) to examine why the historic cost allocation model has been so enduring. In my examination, I use personal correspondence, transcripts of Congressional hearings, published financial statements, and relevant journal articles. My analysis indicates that, while accountants empathized with managers who claimed that inflation distorted reported earnings and recognized that a serious measurement scale issue existed, they also recognized that abandonment of historic cost would not be politically feasible. If accountants had adopted a strongly partisan position that favored management with respect to bargaining with labor, this could have undermined the profession's claim to neutrality and opened the standard-setting process to closer political scrutiny. ...
The author examined whether contextual variables impact internal auditors' self-assessed likelihood of whistleblowing. The author synthesized a theoretical framework and developed research hypotheses that predict relationships between the self-assessed likelihood of whistleblowing and (1) magnitude of the consequences (2) channels of communication and (3) type of wrongdoing. To test these hypotheses, the author provided internal auditors (n=123) with a scenario and asked them to self-assess the likelihood of reporting evidence of a malfacation to their internal audit director even though their audit manager told them to ignore the wrongdoing.
A research study is undertaken to determine if economic incentives exist for noncompliance with regulatory standards, and if accounting related disclosure of regulatory enforcement actions is a determinant of environmental performance.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of interactions with IRS employees on tax practitioners' attitudes toward the IRS. The mission of the IRS is to inspire the highest degree of public confidence as it collects the proper amount of tax revenues at the least cost to the public. The IRS believes it must project a favorable image to tax practitioners in order to foster a high level of support for its mission. Prior surveys of tax practitioners found that practitioners have generally unfavorable attitudes toward the IRS and its employees. This study examined whether the unfavorable attitudes result from interactions with IRS employees, and provides empirical evidence of the effects of interactions with IRS employees on tax practitioners' attitudes toward the IRS.
This research examines how experience and missing information affect judgments of tax return preparers. Tax return preparers may often be faced with the problem of incomplete information, and their responses to this problem may be conditioned by whether or not they recognize information is missing. Based on the Holland et al.'s cognitive theory of induction as applied to tax judgment by Marchant et al., it was hypothesized that experienced tax preparers would correctly classify more items as to their relevance to a specific tax issue than novice tax preparers. Additionally, it was hypothesized that the strength of recommendations of tax preparers who had no relevant information missing would be greater than the strength of recommendations of tax preparers who had relevant information missing and were prompted that information was missing. Lastly, it was hypothesized that prompting that relevant information was missing would have a greater effect on the strength of recommendations of tax return preparers with lesser specific experience than it would on the strength of recommendations of tax return preparers with greater specific experience. The results suggest that experienced tax preparers do recognize the relevance of information to a greater degree than novice tax preparers. There was no significant difference, however, in the strengths of recommendation of tax preparers who had no missing information and those who were prompted that information was missing. There was a significant difference in the strengths of recommendations of tax preparers with lesser specific experience who had been prompted that relevant information was missing and those who had not been prompted that relevant information was missing. Among tax preparers with greater specific experience, however, there was no significant difference between the two groups. These results suggest that tax preparers with greater specific experience recognized that relevant information was missing without being prompted, while tax ...
Poland's transition from a centrally-planned economy (CPE) to a market economy began in 1989. Building a market economy out of the failures of a CPE represents an unprecedented process in the history of economic development. At the core of the transition is the privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Many problems encountered during privatization are accounting related, and before privatization can occur valuation issues must be resolved. What has been the role of accounting in Poland's transition? Accounting is an interactive process that reflects and creates reality. The accounting process facilitates the calculation of the value created by a firm by attempting to trace the flow of resources through the value-creating process, and it identifies, measures, records, summarizes, and reports transactions. How these transactions are internalized determines how they flow through the accounting process, and, because the former SOEs are complex organizations in transition, decisions concerning when and how to record events can be diverse. The primary objective of this study is to provide insight into the accounting transition in Poland by addressing issues of ownership rights, valuation, financial reporting, and disclosure. The research question is: How is accounting transforming and being transformed in Poland? The research question is addressed in the context of the political and economic environment of three SOEs privatized and traded on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. To identify the role accounting played, I examined the financial reports of three of the first Polish SOEs privatized, employing case study methodology. The analysis indicates that accounting facilitated the transition by creating capital with the overstatement of assets. The overvalued assets will have to be absorbed in future periods, and subsequent research should address this problem.
This study contributes to the debate on accounting pedagogy in the basic financial accounting course by examining the pedagogical tool of fluency training as a way to improve student performance. Fluency training has been shown to improve performance of students in other academic disciplines.
This research examines whether firms managed earnings in the year they adopted SFAS 109, Accounting for Income Taxes (or its predecessor SFAS 96), by combining the choice to adopt SFAS 109 with other accounting choices in an interdependent rather than independent manner. Prior literature generally analyzes only one specific accounting choice, assuming that the decision is independent of other accounting procedure choices. However, it is unlikely that managers act in this manner. When attempting to achieve certain income goals, managers have numerous accounting tools available to them including the choice of accounting procedures and the exercise of judgment as to accrual amounts. This study investigates five choices consisting of: (1) the adoption of SFAS 109/96; (2) the adoption of SFAS 106; (3) the reporting of a restructuring of operations and/or a write-down of assets; (4) the reporting of asset sales; and (5) the choice of discretionary accruals. The study adopts both a portfolio and joint decision approach. The portfolio approach combines the earnings effects of the five choices into a single dependent variable and tests income smoothing, big bath, and debt hypotheses. The joint decision approach utilizes simultaneous equation methodology to investigate the interdependence of the five choices and the independent variables. The portfolio approach findings provide evidence that firms used the combined effect of the five accounting choices to smooth income in the year they adopted FAS 109/96. The results also provide support for the debt hypothesis but do not support the big bath hypothesis. The joint decision approach findings provide evidence that firms jointly determined at least two of the five accounting choices. The strong support for the income smoothing hypothesis under the portfolio approach combined with the joint significance of the individual accounting choices in the simultaneous equations suggests that firms use a multitude of accounting choices ...
Previous research has shown that accountants may be inadequate moral reasoners. Concern over this trend caused the Treadway Commission (1987) and the Accounting Education Change Commission (1990) to call for greater integration of ethics into the student's training. Ponemon and Glazer (1990) found a difference in cognitive moral development (CMD) between accounting students at a public university and a private university with a liberal arts emphasis. This study expands Ponemon and Glazer's research by examining two liberal arts universities, one a private, secular institution and one a Catholic institution. The primary research question asks if Catholic university accounting students manifest greater CMD growth than secular university accounting students. Additionally, this study examines and compares the priority that accounting students from the different institutions place on ethical values versus economic values. It was expected that Catholic university accounting students would manifest both greater CMD growth and a greater concern for ethical values over economic values when compared with non-Catholic university accounting students. The study utilized a two-phase approach. In the first phase, an organizational study of two institutions was made to determine how each strives to integrate moral development into their accounting students' education. In the second phase, lower-division and senior accounting students were given three ethical and values related tasks to complete which propose to measure differences in ethical and economic values.
This study extends a research stream calling for further research regarding pricing and accounting feedback. Marketing executives rely heavily on accounting information for pricing decisions, yet criticize accounting feedback usefulness. To address this criticism, this research integrates the cognitive psychology and accounting literature addressing feedback effectiveness with pricing research in the marketing discipline. The research extends the scope of previous accounting feedback studies by using a control group and comparing two proxies of subject task knowledge; years of pricing experience and a measure of the cognitive structure of pricing knowledge. In addition, this research manipulates task complexity by using two different accounting systems. These systems vary in the number of cost pools used in allocating overhead, resulting in differentially projected cost and profit information. A total of 60 subjects participated in a computer laboratory experiment. These subjects were non-accountants with varying amounts of pricing knowledge. Subjects were randomly assigned to six experimental groups which varied by feedback type (no accounting feedback, outcome feedback only, or a combination of outcome and task properties feedback) and task complexity (high or low number of overhead cost pools). The subjects attempted to (1) maximize profits for a product during 15 rounds of pricing decisions, and (2) accurately estimate their profit for each round. The experimental results indicate no difference in performance between the three feedback types examined. However, increases in both subjects' pricing knowledge and the number of cost pools do influence feedback effectiveness. This study suggests that the amount of the users' task knowledge may influence the effectiveness of current accounting reports. In addition, increasing the number of cost pools in accounting systems may be beneficial for all users.
This study examined whether three reserve-based quantity replacement measures and three reserve-based value replacement measures have incremental information content beyond that of historical earnings and its cash and accrual components. This study also examined whether the cash and accrual components of earnings have incremental information content beyond that of earnings.
The primary objective of this dissertation is to determine the factors that have shaped the corporate financial reporting practices in Bahrain. Prior researchers have offered two explanations, environmental factors and cultural importation, for the emergence of financial reporting practices in developing countries. The environmental explanation suggests that a nation's financial reporting practices will be shaped by its socioeconomic structure. The cultural importation explanation states that the desire for international legitimacy creates incentives for developing nation to adopt Western financial reporting practices. Bahrain provided an excellent environment in which to examine the two explanations since its public and closed corporations have similar economic characteristics. Only public corporations are legally required to publish financial reports. I posited that public corporations would try to gain legitimacy for their published reports by adopting Western standards, while closed corporations would not have a similar incentive. I used an interpretive framework to analyze the Bahrain socioeconomic environment and to examine the general financial reporting practices of Bahraini corporations. I found that closed corporations provided data responsive to the Bahraini environment. Public corporations, however, adopted International Accounting Standards. My analysis supported prior researchers7 findings that colonialism, the need for international legitimacy, and international audit firms were important factors in gaining acceptance for Western accounting practices. The adoption of Western financial reporting practices may be dysfunctional to a developing nation like Bahrain if these practices do not provide relevant information about corporate performance. Therefore, Bahrain, as well as other developing countries, needs to proceed cautiously before adopting Western corporate reporting practices.
The purpose of this research was to examine the United States population of plans with over 100 participants to determine the extent of the reaction away from defined benefit plans resulting from the 1986 and 1987 legislation.
This research examines the assertions made by Johnson and Kaplan (1987) that cost accounting lost relevance after 1925 due to the dominance of financial accounting, to an academic preoccupation with financial accounting, to the disappearance of engineers and to a managerial emphasis on financial measures of net income and earnings per share. Additionally, the research looks at environmental effects on cost accounting, both economic and governmental.
This study uses both basic and self-selection regression models to test three hypotheses about the effect of SFAS 87 disclosures on information asymmetry during 1985- 1987. Both types of models test the hypotheses after controlling for changes in the inventory holding and order processing costs of the spread, while the self-selection models also control for potential self-selection bias.
This study explores how the Egyptian socioeconomic factors impacted the implementation of International Accounting Standards (IASs) in Egypt. Prior research concluded that developing nations have special needs when it comes to accounting and financial reporting and recommended nation-specific analysis. The author adapts Gray's (1988) model, which connects Hofstede's cultural dimensions with accounting practice, to fit the Egyptian environment.
Alfred Chandler, in Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (1990), suggests that the acquisition of targets is an alternative to direct investment in research and development (R&D). Chandler suggests that the failure of accounting to recognize investment in R&D as an asset may have made R&D less attractive. This study focuses on the relationship between investment in R&D and capital expenditures and a set of partitions based on Chandler's three technology types ("hightech," "stable-tech," and "low-tech") and three possible merger activity classes (acquirer next year, target next year, and neither acquirer nor target next year). Chi-square contingency tables are used to test the independence of merger class and technology type, a frequency test. Regression is used to test the relationship between R&D and sales and between capital expenditures and sales, with the sample partitioned by technology type and by merger class in a 3-by-3 research design. The sample is 23,146 firm years from 1974-1988 for 2,659 firms categorized into industry groups based on Chandler's criteria. The financial data are from COMPUSTAT data files. The frequency of being an acquirer is the same for high-tech and stable-tech firms (11.2 versus 11.5 percent of firm years) and higher for low-tech firms (13.9 percent of firm years). High-tech firms that are acquirers next year have 79% lower investment in R&D (.044 of sales versus .056 of sales) and 77% lower investment in capital expenditures (.071 of sales versus .092 of sales) than "high-tech" firms that are neither acquirers nor targets next year ("baseline" firms) as measured by the estimated slope coefficient in regression. "Stable-tech" acquirers are similar to "stable-tech" baseline firms in R&D investment (.016 of sales versus .016 of sales) and in capital expenditures investment (.072 of sales versus .080 of sales). "High-tech" targets have higher R&D investment (0.062 of ...
The purpose of this dissertation is to develop a theory that helps explain the conditions under which firms select certain project evaluation techniques. This study uses contingency theory to analyze the impact of environmental uncertainty on the choice of project evaluation techniques. In addition to a direct measure of uncertainty, several dimensions of uncertainty are included in this study. These dimensions of uncertainty include control structure, method of financing, foreign assets, method of growth, and product domination. This study also analyzes the use of project evaluation, management science and risk management techniques in US firms over time and in UK firms over time in order to compare to prior research. A comparison of firms in the two countries are also provided. The primary method of data collection was a survey instrument. Data were also collected from annual reports and various other public sources. The variables that appear significant in the choice of project evaluation technique in US firms are environmental uncertainty, control structure, method of financing, foreign assets, and product domination. The variable that appear significant in the choice of project evaluation technique in UK firms is method of financing. US firms favor discounted cash flow techniques although this study detected a slight decrease over time. UK firms continue to use non-discounted cash flow techniques, although the use of discounted cash flow techniques is widespread. There are significant differences between US and UK firms. US firms tend to use discounted cash flow techniques to a greater extent than UK firms. This research makes a significant contribution in attempting to develop a theory explaining the use of project evaluation techniques in firms in the US and UK. In addition, several other developments relating to project evaluation, management science and risk management are discussed. The results of this study can be used ...
Typical accounting studies attempting to explain accounting method choice employ positive theoretical hypotheses and test for association between adoption method or adoption timing and economic measures that focus upon specific firm stakeholders. Such studies addressing the adoption and impact of SFAS 87, "Employer's Accounting for Pensions," yield mixed and contradicting results. Various researchers have suggested that traditional economic analysis often fails to capture important explanatory variables and is far too simplistic. The purpose of this study is to expand analysis by evaluating a particular accounting choice by means of three different characterizations. SFAS 106, "Employers' Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other than Pensions," allows management to choose between two very different methods of adopting the standard. The principal question explored in this study is: why did managers of firms that employ defined benefit postretirement plans for benefits other than pensions choose to adopt SFAS 106 using a particular method? The research question is explored by means of three different characterizations: 1) a traditional economic characterization; 2) a sociopolitical characterization); and 3) a joint decision characterization. Logit methodology is used with method of SFAS 106 adoption as the binary dependent variable of interest. Results indicate that all three characterizations are important in understanding the SFAS 106 adoption method choice. Further, each characterization adds separate information toward comprehension of the choice, supporting the notion of the complexity of accounting choice issues.
Auditors regularly make judgments regarding whether a client’s chosen accounting policy is appropriate and in accordance with generally accepted accounting Principles (GAAP). However, to form this judgment, auditors must either possess adequate topic-specific knowledge or must gain such knowledge through information search. This search is subject to numerous biases, including a bias toward confirmation of a client’s preference. It is important to further our understanding of bias in auditors’ information search to identify its causes and effects. Furthering our understanding is necessary to provide a basis for recommending and evaluating a potential debiaser, such as accountability. the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) annually inspects the audit files of selected engagements, which introduces a new form of accountability within the auditing profession. This new form of accountability has come at great cost, however, there is little empirical evidence regarding its effects on auditors’ processes. As such, it is important to understand whether the presence of accountability from the PCAOB is effective in modifying auditors’ search behaviors to diminish confirmation bias. Using an online experiment, I manipulate client preference (unknown vs. known) and PCAOB accountability pressure (low vs. high) and measure search type (information –focus or decision-focus), search depth (shallow or deep) and documentation quality. I investigate whether auditors’ information search behaviors differ based on knowledge of client’s preference and in the presence of accountability from an expected PCAOB inspection. I also investigate whether differences in auditors’ information search behaviors influence documentation quality, which is the outcome of greatest concern to the PCAOB. I hypothesize and find a client preference effect on information search type such that auditors with knowledge of the client preference consider guidance associated with the client’s preference longer than those without knowledge of the client’s preference. Contrary to expectations, PCAOB accountability pressure does not influence information search ...
This study resolves divergent prior findings relating book-tax differences to future earnings, determines whether prior literature has missed relationships between different types of book-tax differences and pre-tax and/or after-tax income, and investigates prior earnings as a factor contributing to the observed relationships. As past research has found that some firms have large book-tax differences over several years, this study separates these firms with large stable book-tax differences from others with large book-tax differences (non-stable) when investigating the link between large book-tax differences and future earnings. Finally, this study investigates whether the relationship between book-tax differences and future earnings reflects information about prior earnings and finds that prior earnings growth explains much of the lower persistence found for firms with large book-tax differences.
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