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Accounting for Human Resources: Implications for Theory and Practice.

Description: 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 ...
Date: December 2001
Creator: Stovall, Olin Scott

Accounting Measurement Bias and Executive Compensation Systems

Description: 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.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Boone, Jeffery Paul

Accounting Regulation and Information Asymmetry in the Capital Markets: An Empirical Study of Accounting Standard SFAS no 87

Description: 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.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Lin, Wen-shan

Alternative Social Security Taxing Schemes: an Analysis of Vertical and Horizontal Equity in the Federal Tax System

Description: 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 ...
Date: December 1988
Creator: Ricketts, Robert C. (Robert Carlton)

An Analysis of Confidence Levels and Retrieval of Procedures Associated with Accounts Receivable Confirmations

Description: 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.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Rogers, Violet C. (Violet Corley)

An Analysis of Corporate Accounting and Reporting Practices in Bahrain

Description: 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.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Abdul-Rahim, Hassan M.

An Analysis of Factors Associated with Voluntary Disclosure of Management's Responsibilities for Internal Control

Description: 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 [1990] 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.
Date: August 1992
Creator: Tanner, Margaret Morgan

An Analysis of Smoothing of Proved Oil and Gas Reserve Quantities and an Analysis of Bias and Variability in Revisions of Previous Estimates of Proved Oil and Gas Reserve Quantities

Description: 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.
Date: August 1988
Creator: Campbell, Alan D.

An Analysis of the Accounting System of the Quincy Mining Company: 1846-1900

Description: 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.
Date: December 1992
Creator: Michael, Rodney R. (Rodney Richard)

An Analysis of the Cost Accounting Literature of the United States from 1925 to 1950

Description: 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.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Vollmers, Gloria Lucey

An Analysis of the Incremental Information Gain in Combining Economic, Socio-Political, and Joint-Decision Characterizations in a Study of Accounting Choice: the Case of SFAS 106

Description: 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.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Baker, Pamela Smith (Pamela Smith Elaine)

Auditors’ Information Search and Documentation: Does Knowledge of the Client Preference Or PCAOB Accountability Pressure Matter?

Description: 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 ...
Date: May 2012
Creator: Olvera, Renee M.

Balanced Scorecards: An Experimental Study of the Effects of Linking the Evaluators' and Subordinates' Balanced Scorecards on Performance Evaluation.

Description: 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.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Kang, Gerui

The Changing Role and Responsibilities of Audit Committees in the United States

Description: 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.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Teed, Dan Graham

A Comparison of Cognitive Moral Development of Accounting Students at a Catholic University with Secular University Accounting Students

Description: 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.
Date: April 1998
Creator: Koeplin, John P. (John Peter)

The Contrast-Inertia Model and the Updating of Attributions in Performance Evaluation

Description: 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 ...
Date: December 1989
Creator: Atkinson, Sue Andrews

Does the Knowledge of Unaudited Account Balances Adversely Affect the Performance of Substantive Analytical Procedures?

Description: 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.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Pike, Byron J.

Earnings Management and the Independence or Interdependence of Accounting Choices: the Decision to Adopt Mandated Accounting Changes

Description: 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 ...
Date: December 1997
Creator: Nichols, Nancy Brown

The Effect of Auditor Knowledge on Information Processing during Analytical Review

Description: 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.
Date: February 1995
Creator: O'Donnell, Ed

The Effect of Different Forms of Accounting Feedback, Cost Aggregation and Pricing Knowledge on Profitability and Profit Estimation

Description: 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.
Date: May 1997
Creator: Smith, David M., 1961-

The Effect of SFAS No. 141 and SFAS No. 142 on the Accuracy of Financial Analysts' Earnings Forecasts after Mergers

Description: 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.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Mintchik, Natalia Maksimovna

Effects of Auditor-provided Tax Services on Book-tax Differences and Investors’ Mispricing of Book-tax Differences

Description: 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.
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Date: May 2015
Creator: Luo, Bing