Are Financially Constrained Firms More Prone to Financial Restatements?
60 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 10, 2018
We examine the association between firms’ financial constraints and potentially value- destroying financial restatements. How financial constraints affect managerial behavior has been labeled as a core issue in accounting and finance. Ex-ante, the nature of the relation between financial constraints and financial restatements is unclear and remains unexplored in the literature.
We find that financially constrained firms are more prone to restate their financial statements. We examine two explanations for this relation. First, consistent with managerial opportunism, we find that among financially constrained firms, weaker firm performance, greater financial leverage, and greater informational complexity are associated with higher discretionary accruals and more restatements. Second, consistent with managerial signalling, we find that although firms with greater investment opportunities and financing needs have higher discretionary accruals, they are not associated with more restatements. These firms signal positive prospects through earnings management while avoiding GAAP violations that could trigger restatements. Finally, we find that a financial constraint measure based on textual analysis outperforms traditional metrics used in most prior research.
Keywords: financial constraints, restatements, discretionary accruals, firm performance, informational complexity, financial leverage, investment opportunities, financing needs, text-based measures
JEL Classification: M41; M48; G30; G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation