A Measure of Financial Statement Benchmarking
The Accounting Review, Vol. 98 (6), pp. 253-281, 2023
52 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2018 Last revised: 30 Nov 2023
Date Written: March 15, 2023
We propose a pairwise measure of financial statement benchmarking (FSB) that captures the degree of overlap in the financial statement line items reported by two firms. We validate FSB by showing its association with actual peer choices of analysts and corporate boards. We then test the practical implications of FSB in the context of strategic peer selection by these parties. We find that analyst (board) chosen peers with low pairwise FSB are more likely to be strategic selections and that the set of peers assembled by an analyst (board) collectively having low FSB is associated with more optimistic earnings forecasts (higher CEO overpay). We also demonstrate alternative applications of FSB by aggregating the pairwise measure at the firm level and decomposing it into finer financial statement-specific components. Our evidence suggests that FSB can be a relevant tool for those using benchmarking applications, including practitioners and academics.
Keywords: Financial statement benchmarking, Peer benchmarking, Analyst forecasts, CEO compensation, Peer-based valuation, XBRL.
JEL Classification: M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation