What Drives the Top Line? Nonfinancial Determinants of Sales Revenue in Private Venture-Backed Firms
John R. M. Hand
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Accounting Area
December 28, 2005
This study explores the roles that three kinds of nonfinancial variables - people, patents and policies - play in generating firms' near-term annual sales revenue. Due to data limitations on these variables for public companies, I use a rich and detailed set of information taken from surveys of private venture-backed firms conducted by VentureOne. By means of a Cobb-Douglas-type revenue model, I find that firms' one-year-ahead forecasts of sales revenue are larger the higher are their current revenues; the more rapidly their personnel and granted patents are growing; the more business development, finance, marketing, sales, technical and other staff they employ; and when a formal sales commission plan is in place. Forecasted revenues are lower when firms are in the development and clinical trials stages of life, but are uncorrelated with the number of administrative employees and the presence of a defined bonus compensation plan. My results add to the growing literature on how and why nonfinancial statement variables are associated with financial statement outcomes. They also suggest that the top-line forecasts made by young companies are not entirely the 'creative fiction' that is sometimes alleged.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: Compensation policies, employees, patents, private firms, revenue forecasts
JEL Classification: D24, J24, J41, L25, M13, M41, M45working papers series
Date posted: December 29, 2005
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