The Effect of Fair Value versus Historical Cost Reporting Model on Analyst Forecast Accuracy
Edward J. Riedl
Boston University - Questrom School of Business
December 1, 2013
Accounting Review, Forthcoming
This paper examines how the reporting model for a firm’s operating assets affects analyst forecast accuracy. We contrast UK and US investment property firms having real estate as their primary operating asset, exploiting that UK (US) firms report these assets at fair value (historical cost). We assess the accuracy of a balance sheet-based forecast (net asset value, or NAV) and an income statement-based forecast (earnings-per-share, or EPS). We predict and find higher NAV forecast accuracy for UK relative to US firms, consistent with the fair value reporting model revealing private information that is incorporated into analysts’ balance sheet forecasts. We find this difference is attenuated when the fair value and historical cost models are more likely to converge: during recessionary periods. Finally, we predict and find lower EPS forecast accuracy for UK firms when reporting under the full fair value model of IFRS, in which unrealized fair value gains and losses are included in net income. This is consistent with the full fair value model increasing the difficulty of forecasting net income through the inclusion of non-serially correlated elements such as these gains/losses. Information content analyses provide further support for these inferences. Overall, the results indicate that the fair value reporting model enhances analysts’ ability to forecast the balance sheet, but the full fair value model reduces their ability to forecast net income.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: fair value, historical cost, analyst forecast accuracy, net asset value, real estate
JEL Classification: M4, L85
Date posted: February 2, 2013 ; Last revised: December 19, 2013
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