Does Accounting and Financial Expertise in the C-Suite Aid or Mitigate Earnings Management?

31 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2009

See all articles by Gopal V. Krishnan

Gopal V. Krishnan

Bentley University

Gnanakumar Visvanathan

George Mason University - Department of Accounting

Lixin (Nancy) Su

Department of Accountancy, Lingnan University

Date Written: March 11, 2009

Abstract

Despite the obvious impact of the CFO and the CEO on a firm’s financial statements, there is limited empirical evidence on whether and how the personal characteristics of senior management are associated with earnings management. We provide empirical evidence on the relation between earnings management and the accounting and financial expertise of these C-suite managers. For a sample of S&P 500 firms we find that CEOs and CFOs with accounting and financial expertise appear to manage earnings more aggressively than CEOs and CFOs without such expertise. We document greater earnings management by C-suite managers with accounting/financial expertise via accruals as well as real activities, such as overproducing goods, cutting back on discretionary spending, such as advertising and research and development expenses, manipulating sales and shifting of core expenses to special items. Our findings have important implications for boards of directors, members of the audit committee, investors and others.

Keywords: CFO, CEO, real earnings management, financial expertise, CPA

JEL Classification: M43, M41

Suggested Citation

Krishnan, Gopal and Visvanathan, Gnanakumar and Su, Lixin (Nancy), Does Accounting and Financial Expertise in the C-Suite Aid or Mitigate Earnings Management? (March 11, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1420182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1420182

Gopal Krishnan (Contact Author)

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452
United States
781-891-2477 (Phone)

Gnanakumar Visvanathan

George Mason University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Fairfax, VA
United States
703-993-4236 (Phone)

Lixin (Nancy) Su

Department of Accountancy, Lingnan University ( email )

8 Castle Peak Road
Lingnan University
Hong Kong, New Territories
China

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
312
Abstract Views
1,809
rank
97,411
PlumX Metrics