Internal Control Material Weaknesses and CFO Compensation
57 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2007 Last revised: 5 Dec 2012
Date Written: June 1, 2011
Boards of directors and compensation committees predominantly use financial measures reflecting executive managerial duties as inputs to executive compensation decisions. Yet, despite the fact that Holmstrom (1979) suggests that any readily available performance measure should be considered in executive compensation decisions, there is little research on the link between executive compensation and non-financial performance measures. We develop and test a model of chief financial officer (CFO) compensation with specific emphasis on the link between the disclosure of internal control material weaknesses (ICMW), a non-financial performance measure reflecting CFO fiduciary duties, and CFO compensation. Since internal controls are under the direct responsibility of the CFO, the disclosure of an ICMW reflects poorly on his/her performance. As a baseline, we find that ICMW disclosures lead to decreases in CFO compensation (bonus, equity, and total). Of greater interest, we find that CFOs at firms with stronger governance experience larger compensation decreases upon ICMW disclosures compared to CFOs at firms with weaker governance. In addition, CFOs at firms with greater costs of financial statement misreporting experience larger compensation decreases upon ICMW disclosures compared to CFOs at firms with lower costs of misreporting. Taken together, these results contribute to the relatively sparse literature on CFOs by illustrating the importance of CFO fiduciary duties and the interaction of those duties, in terms of firm governance and misreporting costs, with changes in CFO compensation.
Keywords: CFO Compensation, Internal Controls, Corporate Governance, Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
JEL Classification: J33, G34, G38, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation