Management Guidance Pre- and Post-Restatement
Journal of Business Finance & Accounting Forthcoming
Posted: 22 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 22, 2014
We examine whether the quality of restating firms’ management guidance differs in periods before and after restatement announcements. While characteristics of restating firms and the consequences of restatement have been a central topic in accounting and auditing research, the quality of management guidance around restatements is less well understood. We consider two competing characterizations of the link between management forecast accuracy and bias and restatement (an event that tends to signal poor financial controls): “Forecast-Opportunism Explanation” and “Forecast-Ability Explanation.” Under the Forecast-Opportunism Explanation, pre-restatement weaknesses in financial controls enable managers to manipulate earnings toward forecasts and to meet or exceed opportunistically biased forecasts, and the post-restatement strengthening of financial controls constrains opportunistic behavior. Under the Forecast-Ability Explanation, pre-restatement weaknesses in financial controls impede managers’ ability to issue accurate forecasts, and post-restatement improvements remove impediments so that the accuracy of forecasts improves; forecast bias remains unaffected. Evidence indicates that before a restatement, restating firms’ forecasts are more accurate and relatively more downwardly biased than control firms’ forecasts. Post-restatement, restating firms have less accurate and less downwardly biased management guidance. Our overall results are consistent with the Forecast-Opportunism Explanation.
Keywords: restatement; management guidance
JEL Classification: M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation