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Consequences of Financial Reporting Failure for Outside Directors: Evidence from Accounting Restatements and Audit Committee Members

Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 43, pp. 291-334, May 2004

62 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2011  

Suraj Srinivasan

Harvard Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 4, 2004

Abstract

I use a sample of 409 companies that restate their earnings in 1997-2001 to examine penalties for outside directors, particularly audit committee members, when their companies experience accounting restatements. Penalties from lawsuits and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) actions are limited. However, directors experience significant labor market penalties. In the three years after the restatement, director turnover is 48% for firms that restate earnings downward, 33% for a performance-matched sample, 28% for firms that restate upwards, and only 18% for technical restatement firms. For firms that overstate earnings, the likelihood of director departure increases in restatement severity, particularly for audit committee directors. In addition, directors of these firms are no longer present in 25% of their positions on other boards. This loss is greater for audit committee members and for more severe restatements. A matched-sample analysis also confirms this result. Overall, the evidence is consistent with outside directors, especially audit committee members, bearing reputational costs for financial reporting failure.

Keywords: Corporate Governance, Restatement, Audit Committee, Board of Directors, Reputation, Labor Market, Directors

JEL Classification: G30, J44, M40, M41, M51

Suggested Citation

Srinivasan, Suraj, Consequences of Financial Reporting Failure for Outside Directors: Evidence from Accounting Restatements and Audit Committee Members (December 4, 2004). Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 43, pp. 291-334, May 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1878595

Suraj Srinivasan (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=pub&facId=10700

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