Knowledge workers are an important resource for the typical modern business firm, yet financial reporting ignores such resources. Some researchers contend that the accounting profession has stressed reliability in order to make the accounting appear objective. Others concur, noting that accounting is an insecure profession and adopts strict rules when faced with uncertainty. Accountants have promulgated a strict rule to expense human resource costs, although many know that such resources have future benefits. Some researchers suggest that any discipline must modify its language in order to initiate change toward providing useful social ameliorations. If accounting theorists extend this idea to the accounting lexicon.s description of investments in human resources, investors and other accounting user groups might gain greater insight into how a firm fosters and nourishes human capital. I tested three hypotheses related to this issue by administering an experiment designed to assess financial analysts. perceptions about alternative financial statement treatments of human resources in an investment recommendation task. I predicted that (1) analysts' perceptions of the reliability (relevance) of the information they received would decrease (increase) as the treatment of human resources increasingly violated GAAP (became more current-oriented), (2) analysts exposed to alternative accounting treatments would report a lower likelihood of recommending that their clients invest in the company in the task, and (3) financial analysts who ranked reliability (relevance) as a more important information quality would be less (more) likely to recommend that their clients buy the stock represented in the case because the treatment of human resources on the financial statements violated GAAP (was more current-oriented) as compared to analysts who ranked reliability (relevance) as being lower (higher) in importance. Analysts receiving financial statements with accounting treatments of human resource costs that violated GAAP judged such information as less reliable and were also less likely to recommend ...
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 ...
In the early 1990s, Robert Kaplan and David Norton introduced and developed a new performance measurement and management system called the balanced scorecard (BSC). Most studies have found that evaluators tend to ignore or are not willing to use nonfinancial measures. This study attempts to examine whether the explicit linkage between the evaluator's BSC and the subordinate's BSC makes the evaluators use nonfinancial measures in performance evaluation. This study used an experimental design where subjects were asked to evaluate two managers' performance under explicit linkage versus nonexplicit linkage conditions. The difference between performance evaluation scores of the two managers under the two linkage conditions captures the influence of explicit linkage between BSCs on performance evaluation. I used regression analyses to test my hypothesis. The results of the regression analyses support my hypothesis. This study attempts to explore one possible reason for evaluators' not using nonfinancial measures much in performance evaluation. It is the first one that studies the influence of the linkage between the BSCs on performance evaluation.
The corporate form that developed in the early 20th century created enormous pressure for corporate governance mechanisms to curb the power of corporate managers. Berle and Means, legal pluralists, warned about concentrating economic power in the hands of a small but powerful class of professional managers. They claimed this "new form of absolutism" required governmental oversight and viewed boards of directors as part of management, rather than monitors for shareholders. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed that corporations establish a special board committee, made up of "nonofficer members" in response to the McKesson & Robbins scandal of the late 1930s. My dissertation examines the evolution of the U.S. corporate audit committee through three specific time periods: (1) 1920-1954; (2) 1955-1986; and (3) 1987 to the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. My purpose is to determine if evolution of the audit committee throughout these periods has been a reform continually couched in symbolism or whether the audit committee concept has evolved into real reform, allowing proper corporate governance and mitigation of unchecked corporate power. My analysis is a traditional empirical analysis, relying on both primary and secondary sources to develop a coherent ordering of facts. I use narrative in a narrow sense as my historical methodology, examining patterns that emerge and interpreting facts to develop a clear understanding of demands for and uses of audit committees. I use a holistic approach in studying the data, using narrative to show how these patterns ensue from the historical data.
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.
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 ...
This study analyzes corporate governance practices of foreign (non-U.S.) issuers listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq. Specifically, I examine the extent to which these foreign issuers voluntarily comply with U.S. stock exchange corporate governance requirements applicable to domestic issuers. My sample consists of 201 foreign companies primarily domiciled in Brazil, China, Israel, and the United Kingdom. I find that 151 (75 per cent) of the sample firms do not elect to comply with any of the U.S. corporate governance requirements. Logistic regression analysis generally supports the hypotheses that conformance with U.S. GAAP and percentage of managerial ownership are positively associated, and that percentage ownership by major shareholders is negatively associated with foreign firms electing to comply with U.S. corporate governance rules. This evidence is relevant for regulators and investors.
Auditors use substantive analytical procedures to make assertions about the adequacy and appropriateness of client balances. The analytical procedure process consists of auditors creating independent account expectations and corroborating unusual fluctuations through obtaining and evaluating additional audit evidence. Prior analytical procedure research has found that knowledge of clients' unaudited account balances biases auditors' expectations towards the current year figures. However, this research has failed to examine the impact of biased expectations on the subsequent stages of analytical procedures. This dissertation assesses the full impact of biased account expectations on auditors' use of analytical procedures. I experimentally test the hypotheses of my dissertation through administering an experiment to senior level auditors. After inducing an account expectation bias that favors the client account balance in half the participants, I examine the auditors' cognitive investigation into an unusual account fluctuation. The results indicate that a biased account expectation negatively affects auditors' judgment quality. In particular, a biased expectation leads auditors to favor hypotheses and additional information that supports the proposition that the client's balance is reasonably stated. Alternatively, auditors with unbiased account expectations are more willing to consider all hypotheses and are able to identify the most pertinent additional information to the decision task. As a result of the different decision strategies employed, auditors who form unbiased account expectations are significantly more likely than auditors with biased account expectations to identify the correct relationship among the underlying data and the proposed hypotheses during a substantive analytical procedure.
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 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 ...
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 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 examines the impact of Statements of Financial Accounting Standards No. 141 and No. 142 (hereafter SFAS 141, 142) on the characteristics of financial analysts' earnings forecasts after mergers. Specifically, I predict lower forecast errors for firms that experienced mergers after the enactment of SFAS 141, 142 than for firms that went through business combinations before those accounting changes. Study results present strong evidence that earnings forecast errors for companies involved in merging and acquisition activity decreased after the adoption of SFAS 141, 142. Test results also suggest that lower earnings forecast errors are attributable to factors specific to merging companies such as SFAS 141, 142 but not common to merging and non-merging companies. In addition, evidence implies that information in corporate annual reports of merging companies plays the critical role in this decrease of earnings forecast error. Summarily, I report that SFAS 141, 142 were effective in achieving greater transparency of financial reporting after mergers. In my complementary analysis, I also document the structure of corporate analysts' coverage in "leaders/followers" terms and conduct tests for differences in this structure: (1) across post-SFAS 141,142/pre-SFAS 141, 142 environments, and (2) between merging and non-merging firms. Although I do not identify any significant differences in coverage structure across environments, my findings suggest that lead analysts are not as accurate as followers when predicting earnings for firms actively involved in mergers. I also detect a significant interaction between the SFAS-environment code and leader/follower classification, which indicates greater improvement of lead analyst forecast accuracy in the post-SFAS 141, 142 environment relative to their followers. This interesting discovery demands future investigation and confirms the importance of financial reporting transparency for the accounting treatment of business combinations.
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.
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 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.
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 ...
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 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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
In recent years, the accounting profession has faced increased scrutiny because of scandals involving management fraud (e.g., Enron, WorldCom). In response, Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) #99 has expanded auditors' responsibility for detecting fraud, requiring auditors to gather significantly more information in their assessment of fraud. In addition, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) will focus on fraud detection through their inspections of registered accounting firms. In light of the increased emphasis on auditors' responsibility for detecting fraud, public accounting firms face the challenge of improving their fraud detection process, including their assessment of management fraud risk. Decision aids are one way for auditors to improve their assessment of management fraud risk. In fact, several studies from the decision aid literature suggest that aids are useful tools for a variety of tasks, including fraud risk assessment. At the same time, another stream of the decision aid reliance literature, which looks at people's willingness to rely on decision aids, suggests that individuals tend to be reluctant to accept the output given by an aid. Thus, the primary focus of this paper is on uncovering factors that would encourage one to voluntarily use and rely upon a decision aid. Toward that end, 132 senior-level auditors participated in an experiment that examined how several factors (confidence, perceived usefulness, client size, and conformity pressure) affect decision aid usage and reliance. The results show that perceived usefulness and decision aid reliance are significantly related. Further, the results suggest that perceived usefulness affects reliance more than variables examined in prior studies (e.g., confidence). Finally, the results suggest that decision aid usage mediates the relationship between perceived usefulness and reliance. The results of the current study have important implications for research in both the information systems and decision aid reliance areas. First, the study shows that ...
Fraud risk assessment is an important audit process that has a direct impact on the effectiveness of auditors' fraud detection in an audit. However, prior literature has shown that auditors are generally poor at assessing fraud risk. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) suggests that auditors may improve their fraud risk assessment performance by adopting a fraud specialist mindset. A fraud specialist mindset is a special way of thinking about accounting records. While auditors think about the company's recorded transactions in terms of the availability of supporting documentations and the authenticity of the audit trail, fraud specialists think instead of accounting records in terms of the authenticity of the events and activities that are behind the reported transactions. Currently there is no study that has examined the effects of the fraud specialist mindset on auditors' fraud risk assessment performance. In addition, although recent studies have found that fraud specialists are more sensitive than auditors in discerning fraud risk factors in situation where a high level of fraud risk is present, it remains unclear whether the same can be said for situation where the risk of fraud is low. Thus, the purpose of my dissertation is to examine the effects of fraud specialist and audit mindsets on fraud risk assessment performance. In addition, I examined such effects on fraud risk assessment performance in both high and low fraud risk conditions. The contributions of my dissertation include being the first to experimentally examine how different mindsets impact fraud-related judgment. The results of my study have the potential to help address the PCAOB's desire to improve auditors' fraud risk assessment performance though the adoption of the fraud specialist mindset. In addition, my study contributes to the literature by exploring fraud-related problem representation as a possible mediator of mindset on fraud risk assessment ...
Professional skepticism is a critical component of audit practice and current auditing standards direct auditors to remain skeptical throughout the duration of each audit engagement. Despite the importance and prevalence of an emphasis on professional skepticism throughout auditing standards, evidence indicates that auditors often fail to exercise an appropriate degree of professional skepticism. Prior accounting research suggests that auditors’ professionally skeptical behavior is affected by individual personality traits as well as situational (state) influences, whereby both factors contribute to auditor professional skepticism. Yet, prior research has primarily focused on trait skepticism; and little research to date has investigated the concept of state skepticism. The purpose if this research study is to experimentally investigate the impact of time pressure and trait skepticism on state skepticism, and to test a potential debiasing procedure on the impact of time pressure on state skepticism. In addition, this study examines the influence of both skepticism types on skeptical behavior.This research offers several contributions to accounting literature and practice. First, I contribute to the existing debate regarding the influences of professional skepticism by providing evidence that professional skepticism may be categorized as a temporary state, induced by situational aspects, in addition to being classified as an enduring trait. Second, I identify certain situational conditions which create differences in the level of state professional skepticism exhibited within an auditing context. Lastly, my findings may also be important to audit firms as they consider tools within their training arsenal equipped to promote an appropriate level of professional skepticism among employees. If auditor skepticism can be influenced by the frames they are provided, then audit firms may create an environment that promotes consistency in auditors’ application of professional skepticism, simply by engaging in goal framing.
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.
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.
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.
Because of the non-recurring and transitory nature of discontinued operations, accounting standards require that the results of discontinued operations be separately reported on the income statement. Prior accounting literature supports the view that discontinued operations are non-recurring or transitory in nature, and also suggests that income classified as transitory has minimal relevance in firm valuation. Finance and management literature, however, suggest that firms discontinue operations to strategically utilize their scarce resources. Assuming that discontinued operations are a result of managerial motives to strategically concentrate resources into remaining continued operations, this dissertation examines the informativeness of discontinued operations. In doing so, this dissertation empirically tests the financial performance, investment efficiency, valuation, and analyst forecast accuracy effects of discontinued operations. In 2001, Financial Accounting Standards Board's (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) 144 (hereafter SFAS 144) replaced Accounting Principles Board's Opinion 30 (hereafter APB 30) and broadened the scope of divestiture transactions to be presented in discontinued operations. Some stakeholders of financial statements argued that discontinued operations were less decision-useful in the SFAS 144 era because too many transactions that do not represent a strategic shift in operations were separately stated as discontinued operations on the income statement. With the possibility that the discontinued operations reported in SFAS 144 era may not reflect a major strategic reallocation of resources, this dissertation examines whether the relationship between discontinued operations, firm performance, investment efficiency, and analyst forecast accuracy are different in the pre-SFAS 144 and SFAS 144 era. Using a sample of firms that discontinued operations between 1990 and 2012, this dissertation study finds limited evidence that firms experience improvement in financial performance following discontinued operations and that such improvement is only observed in pre-SFAS 144 era. The results also suggest that any improvement in financial performance documented is conditional on the profitability ...
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.
The focus of the study is on financial reporting for non-U.S. firms registered with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) but using International Accounting Standards (IAS). This study addresses two issues, (1) whether the comparability of financial reporting among firms using IAS in credit and equity financing jurisdictions increases over time and (2) the associated capital market implications. The motivation for the study is the SEC's ongoing assessment of IAS for possible use by non-U.S. registrants for listing and capital raising in the U.S. Previous research on variations in financial reporting practices has revealed distinctly different types of financial reporting depending on country of origin. Moreover, some research suggests that such differences in financial reporting tend to persist in spite of harmonization efforts of accounting standards. This study suggests that there may be a systematic difference between credit and equity firms' financial reporting that is manifested by the fact that credit firms' adjustments to U.S. GAAP are greater than the adjustments made by equity firms. This systematic difference has had the following capital market consequences for credit firms, (1) a decreasing strength of association between accounting earnings and share prices post-1994, (2) an increased bid-ask spread post-1994, and (3) a decreased trading volume post-1994. This may be an indication that on the average firms reporting under IAS fail to meet an important part of the SEC's second assessment criterion with respect to high quality and full disclosure, namely comparability. In addition, it seems that the revisions made by International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have not resulted in more congruent financial reporting among firms reporting under IAS over time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
Prior to Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No.121 (SFAS No.121): Accounting for the Impairment of Long-Lived Assets and Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of, managers had substantial discretion concerning the amount and timing of reporting writedowns of long-lived assets. Moreover, the frequency and dollar amount of asset writedown announcements that led to a large “surprise” caused the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to consider the need for a new standard to guide the recording of impairment of long-lived assets. This study has two primary objectives. First, it investigates the effects of SFAS No.121 on asset impairment reporting, examining whether SFAS No.121 reduces the magnitude and restricts the timing of reporting asset writedowns. Second, the study compares the information content (surprise element) of the asset impairment loss announcement as measured by cumulative abnormal returns (CAR) before and after the issuance of SFAS No.121. The findings provide support for the hypothesis that the FASB's new accounting standard does not affect the magnitude of asset writedown losses. The findings also provide support for the hypothesis that SFAS No. 121 does not affect the management choice of the timing for reporting asset writedowns. In addition, the findings suggest that the market evaluates the asset writedown losses after the issuance of SFAS No. 121 as good news for “big bath” firms, while, for “income smoothing” firms, the market does not respond to the announcements of asset writedown losses either before or after the issuance of SFAS No. 121. The findings also suggest that, for “big bath” firms, the market perceives the announcement of asset impairment losses after the adoption of SFAS No. 121 as more credible relative to that before its issuance. This could be because the practice of reporting asset writedowns after the issuance of SFAS No. ...
The Internet provides many sources of financial information that investors can use to help with investment decisions and in interpreting companies' accounting information. One source of information is Internet stock message boards such as those at Yahoo! Finance. This source allows for anonymous postings and information exchange. Despite the possibility of the information being incorrect many individuals visit these message boards. The purpose of this study is to investigate Internet stock message boards and address the primary question: From an individual investor perspective, do message boards, which contain accounting information, influence investment decisions? The question is addressed using psychology rumor literature and attitude theories. Message board postings are a type of rumor, since not all the information is verified and is usually intended to persuade a belief or influence a decision. Further, the messages may influence an investor by causing a change in attitude about the investment. Using an experiment, message board influence on an investment decision and attitude was tested. The results indicated that individuals that received negative message board postings did have a significantly higher change in investment amount as compared to a control group that did not receive any message postings. The positive message board group and the control group were not significantly different in their amount of investment change. The results of the study also show that message board postings influenced attitude, those that received negative (positive) postings had a negative (positive) attitude about the investment. It was further found that those with a negative (positive) attitude decreased (increased) their investment. Finally, contrary to expectations, investment experience did not lead to an individual being less influenced by message board postings. This study contributes to the accounting literature by investigating an additional source of Internet financial reporting that may or may not contain correct information. The SEC ...
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