The Usefulness of Financial Accounting Information: Evidence from the Field
The Accounting Review 96 (6): 73-102
62 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2017 Last revised: 24 Nov 2021
Date Written: December 3, 2020
We examine how investment professionals assess the usefulness of financial accounting information depending on their information acquisition objectives and preparers’ earnings management incentives. We conduct a survey experiment based on face-to-face interviews with investment professionals and document two main results. First, we find that, compared with investment professionals assigned a firm valuation objective, those assigned a managerial performance evaluation objective assess accounting information as significantly less useful. Second, we find no systematic evidence that preparers’ earnings management incentives negatively affect investment professionals’ assessments of accounting information usefulness. To elucidate this second finding, we conduct a large-scale follow-up online experiment. Our results continue to offer no support for the effect of earnings management incentives on investment professionals’ assessments of accounting information usefulness, irrespective of preparers’ corporate governance quality. Instead, we find that poor corporate governance, by itself, reduces the usefulness of accounting information to investment professionals.
Keywords: Decision Usefulness, Financial Reporting Objectives, Earnings Management, Corporate Governance, Investment Professionals, Relevance, Representational Faithfulness
JEL Classification: G15, G18, G38, M41, M48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation