Does Accrual Management Impair the Performance of Earnings‐Based Valuation Models?
37 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2015
Date Written: January/February 2015
This study examines how accrual manipulations affect firm valuation in the years surrounding the passage of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act (SOX). We compare the absolute percentage pricing errors of RIM and DCF valuation models for a group of US firms suspected to have engaged in accrual manipulations to avoid a small loss or a small earnings decline vs. ‘Normal’ firms matched on industry, year and size. We find that RIM can better estimate intrinsic value than DCF for the matched Normal firms in the pre‐SOX period, but not so for accrual manipulators, and that SOX mitigates the harmful effect of accrual manipulations, completely eliminating the difference in RIM's accuracy advantage over DCF between Normal firms and accrual manipulators. As a further analysis, we redefine Suspect firms as real‐activity manipulators and find a significant across‐group difference in accuracy wedge in both sample periods, implying that SOX has prompted firms to favor real‐activity manipulations over accrual manipulations.
Keywords: accrual and real‐activity manipulations, firm valuation, earnings‐ and non‐earnings‐based valuation models, valuation errors, Sarbanes‐Oxley Act
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