Do Firms Use Restructuring Charge Reversals to Meet Earnings Targets?

31 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2002

See all articles by Stephen R. Moehrle

Stephen R. Moehrle

University of Missouri at Saint Louis - Accounting Area

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2001

Abstract

Many firms that take restructuring charges reverse a portion of those restructuring charge accruals in a later quarter. These reversals increase net income, often substantially. In this study, I investigate whether restructuring charge reversals are associated with incentives to meet or exceed analysts' forecasts, avoid earnings declines relative to prior-year levels, and avoid losses. I examine both the decision to record a reversal and the amount of the reversal, using a sample of 121 reversals recorded between 1990 and 1999. The results suggest that some firms record reversals to beat analysts' forecasts and to avoid reporting net losses. There is also some evidence that firms record reversals to avoid earnings declines. Overall, the results are consistent with firms using restructuring accrual reversals to manage earnings.

Keywords: Accrual reversal; Earnings management; Earnings targets; Restructuring charge

JEL Classification: M41, M43, G34, J41

Suggested Citation

Moehrle, Stephen R., Do Firms Use Restructuring Charge Reversals to Meet Earnings Targets? (October 2001). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=291492 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.291492

Stephen R. Moehrle (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Saint Louis - Accounting Area ( email )

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