Accruals Management to Avoid Losses

26 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2016

See all articles by Weihong Xu

Weihong Xu

State University of New York (SUNY) - Accounting & Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October/November 2016

Abstract

This study examines whether firms engage in accruals management to beat the zero earnings benchmark from the perspective of earnings per share (EPS). Based on net income scaled by lagged market value of equity (E/MV) to define just‐miss and just‐beat test bins, previous studies provide no or inconclusive evidence of accruals management to beat the zero earnings benchmark. I conjecture that because managers focus on shares scaled earnings performance rather than market value scaled earnings performance, forming test bins based on EPS instead of E/MV is a better approach to detect accruals management. As expected, I find evidence of accruals management to beat the zero EPS benchmark. I also find that firms are more likely to manipulate accruals when managers have stronger incentives to beat the zero EPS benchmark. In addition, accruals of firms just beating the zero EPS benchmark are more likely to reverse the next year, resulting in relatively lower future earnings for firms just beating the benchmark compared with firms just missing the benchmark.

Keywords: accruals management, earnings benchmark, zero EPS benchmark, zero net income benchmark

Suggested Citation

Xu, Weihong, Accruals Management to Avoid Losses (October/November 2016). Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Vol. 43, Issue 9-10, pp. 1095-1120, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2867182 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jbfa.12215

Weihong Xu (Contact Author)

State University of New York (SUNY) - Accounting & Law ( email )

Buffalo, NY 14260
United States
716-645-5434 (Phone)
716-645-3823 (Fax)

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