Earnings Guidance and Earnings Management Constraints
46 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2012
Date Written: September 7, 2012
We examine how the provision of quarterly earnings guidance is affected by constraints on earnings management. We argue that costs of falling short of one’s own guidance make managers reluctant to issue guidance without sufficient flexibility in their financial reporting system to manage accruals to meet their forecast should that need arise. We find that the probability of providing guidance is inversely related to constraints on future earnings management. Earnings management constraints also decrease the number of fiscal quarters for which firms guide, the average horizon of guidance, and the willingness to provide guidance above analysts’ expectations. Relative to propensities to meet or beat prevailing analyst forecasts in non-guiding firm-quarters, we find that guiding firm-quarter earnings exhibit a greater propensity to meet or just beat and to avoid just missing management’s own forecast. Collectively, our results suggest that managers are myopically motivated to manage earnings to meet their own forecasts.
Keywords: earnings guidance, management forecasts, earnings management, corporate disclosure
JEL Classification: M41, D82, G14, G30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation