The Relevance of Form 8-K Reports
Mary Ellen Carter
Boston College - Department of Accounting
Billy S. Soo
Journal of Accounting Research, Vol 37, No 1, Spring 1999
In this paper, we investigate the timeliness of and stock price reaction to a sample of Form 8-K reports filed in 1993 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Under current SEC regulations, a Form 8-K must be filed within 5 to 15 days after the occurrence of certain events, such as a bankruptcy filing or an auditor change, as well as after any material development that a registrant believes is relevant to its investors. The SEC?s presumption is that the Form 8-K is relevant to investors; in particular, the report "plays a critical role in the periodic reporting system, which is intended to provide investors with a continuous stream of corporate information" (SEC Accounting Series Release No. 306 ). This function has assumed greater importance in light of proposals made by the SEC to expand the number of required disclosures in the Form 8-K and to reduce the allowed time for filing. Specifically, in an attempt to provide more consistent and timely disclosure by all public companies, the SEC proposes that earnings and selected other financial data be released through an 8-K within 30 days after the end of each fiscal quarter (60 days after fiscal year-end). Form 8-K filing deadlines would be shortened; disclosures currently due in 15 calendar days would be accelerated to 5 business days, and those due in 5 business days would be reduced to 1 business day (SEC ).
JEL Classification: M41, M45, K22
Date posted: December 5, 1999