To What Extent Does the Financial Reporting Process Curb Earnings Surprise Games?
Lawrence D. Brown
Arianna S. Pinello
Florida Gulf Coast University
Journal of Accounting Research, Forthcoming
Managers play earnings surprise games to avoid negative earnings surprises by managing earnings upward or by managing analysts' earnings expectations downward. We investigate the effectiveness of the financial reporting process at restraining earnings surprise games. Because the annual reporting process is subject to an independent audit and more rigorous expense recognition rules than interim reporting, it provides managers with fewer opportunities to manage earnings upward. We document that, relative to interim reporting, annual reporting reduces the likelihood of income-increasing earnings management and, to a lesser extent, of negative surprise avoidance, but increases the magnitude of downward expectations management. Our findings suggest that regulatory attempts to monitor corporations' internal checks and balances are likely to be more effective at curbing upward earnings management than at mitigating negative surprise avoidance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: Financial reporting process, annual reporting, interim reporting, earnings surprise games, earnings management, expectations management, analyst forecasts
JEL Classification: C12, C21, M41working papers series
Date posted: April 18, 2005 ; Last revised: March 5, 2008
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