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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

An investigation of the effects of SFAS No.121 on asset impairment reporting and stock returns

Description: 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. ...
Date: December 2001
Creator: Alshabani, Waleed Mohammad