How the Interplay between Financial and Nonfinancial Measures Affects Management Forecasting Behavior

Journal of Management Accounting Research, Fall 2019, Volume 31 (3): 41-63.

Posted: 16 Jan 2020

See all articles by Joseph F. Brazel

Joseph F. Brazel

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management - Department of Accounting

Bradley E. Lail

Baylor University

Date Written: December 2, 2019

Abstract

This study examines how the interplay between financial and nonfinancial measures (NFMs) affects management forecasting behavior. Building on the knowledge that NFMs are typically aligned with actual earnings and are likely incorporated into earnings forecasts, we investigate if the level of divergence between changes in NFMs and contemporaneous changes in earnings influences management forecasting behavior. We hand collect company-specific NFMs disclosed in 10-K filings and describe how a greater divergence between NFMs and earnings (i.e., NFM changes substantially outpacing earnings growth, or vice versa) is associated with greater uncertainty about the underlying business. As such, in more divergent settings, we observe that management is less likely to issue guidance. Consistent with our theory, for managers that do provide guidance in more divergent settings, management forecast errors increase. Last, we provide evidence that external stakeholders can use the level of divergence to predict future management forecasting behavior.

Keywords: earnings guidance, forecast errors, management forecasts, nonfinancial measures

JEL Classification: G14, M40, M41

Suggested Citation

Brazel, Joseph F. and Lail, Bradley E., How the Interplay between Financial and Nonfinancial Measures Affects Management Forecasting Behavior (December 2, 2019). Journal of Management Accounting Research, Fall 2019, Volume 31 (3): 41-63., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3497036

Joseph F. Brazel (Contact Author)

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management - Department of Accounting ( email )

Campus Box 8113
Nelson Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695
United States
919-513-1772 (Phone)

Bradley E. Lail

Baylor University ( email )

One Bear Place #98002
Waco, TX 76798
United States

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