Earnings Management in India: Managers’ Fixation on Operating Profits
Nagar, N., & Sen, K. (2016). Earnings management in India: Managers’ fixation on operating profits. Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation, 26, 1-12.
Posted: 15 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 14, 2016
We present evidence that the managers of Indian firms fixate on operating profits, and thus manage such earnings. Specifically, they shift operating expenses to income-decreasing special items in order to inflate operating earnings (McVay, 2006. The Accounting Review, 81(3), 531). We also shed light on another form of classification shifting and find that the managers of Indian firms also engage in netting income-increasing special items against the core expenses in order to inflate core earnings. Given the environment of comparatively weaker corporate governance and investor protection, our results suggest that the magnitude of classification shifting is much more in Indian firms as compared to firms in the United States and East-Asian countries. We also find financial distress to be an important firm characteristic that is likely to influence the managers to engage in classification shifting, and find that financially distressed firms are more likely to engage in both types of classification shifting.
Keywords: Earnings management, Classification shifting, Income netting, Special items, Financial distress, Indian companies
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