What Do Accruals Tell Us About Future Cash Flows?
64 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2016 Last revised: 15 Aug 2016
Date Written: March 1, 2016
Our model, which is adapted from Feltham and Ohlson (1995) and Ohlson (1995) and extends Dechow and Dichev (2002), characterizes the information about future cash flows reflected in accruals. The model reveals that investors can extract from accruals information about next period’s economic factor and the transitory part of one component of next period’s cash flow. The extent to which each accrual provides this information depends on whether the accrual’s role is to align future or past cash flows and current period economics and whether the accrual relates to the current or prior period. Thus, each type of accrual has a different coefficient in valuation, forecasting future cash flows, and forecasting earnings. Each coefficient combines an information weight reflecting the information that accrual type provides and a multiple reflecting how that information is used in valuation and cash flow and earnings forecasting. The empirical evidence supports the main insight we obtain from the model, namely that partitioning accruals based on their role in the cash flow alignment process increases the ability of accruals to forecast future cash flows and earnings and to explain firm value.
Keywords: Accruals, Cash flows, Earnings, Forecasting, Valuation
JEL Classification: C51, C53, E37, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation