Differential Market Responses to Alternative Implementation Methods of Mandated Accounting Changes

Posted: 12 Jun 1995

See all articles by Steven Balsam

Steven Balsam

Temple University - Department of Accounting

Eli Bartov

NYU Stern School of Business

In-Mu Haw

Texas Christian University - M.J. Neeley School of Business

Steven B. Lilien

City University of New York - Stan Ross Department of Accountancy

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether and in what way adopting firms benefited from the pattern documented by Balsam et al. (1995) of reporting owners' equity increasing (decreasing) effects of mandated accounting changes in the income statement (balance sheet directly). If the market pays adequate attention to effects of accounting changes only when they are reported in the income statement and if managers wish to maximize firm value then the cost of adopting a new pronouncement is reduced when negative effects are reported directly on the balance sheet bypassing the income statement. We test this explanation on a sample of firms adopting major promulgations of the FASB over a seventeen year period from 1973 the year of FASB inception through the end of 1989. Consistent with our hypothesis we document significantly positive correlation between abnormal returns for a twelve month period around the end of the fiscal year in which the adoption of the mandated accounting change occurred and the income effects of mandated accounting changes when the adoption effects are reported in the income statement. Conversely we fail to find association between these twelve month abnormal returns and the effects of mandated accounting changes when the latter bypass the income statement and are reported directly in the balance sheet as a prior year adjustment to owners' equity.These results support the explanation that one reason that the FASB systematically deviates from APB No. 20 -- by not using the catch-up method for reporting the effects of mandated accounting changes -- is to reduce adopting firms' costs of implementation. They do so by allowing adopting firms to "bury" owners' equity decreasing effects in the owners' equity section of the balance sheet and thereby avoid any stock price decreases. An alternate explanation is that FASB does a good job by requiring only value relevant disclosure be reported in the income statement. This explanation however is doubtful because the amounts bypassing the income statement are predominately negative and because the underlying adoption effects whether reported in the income statement or in balance sheet directly have the same economic consequences.

JEL Classification: M41, G12

Suggested Citation

Balsam, Steven and Bartov, Eli and Haw, In-Mu and Lilien, Steven B., Differential Market Responses to Alternative Implementation Methods of Mandated Accounting Changes. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=55495

Steven Balsam

Temple University - Department of Accounting ( email )

306 Speakman Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-5574 (Phone)
215-204-5587 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sbm.temple.edu/~drb/

Eli Bartov (Contact Author)

NYU Stern School of Business ( email )

44 W. 4th Street, Suite 10-96
New York, NY 10012
United States
212.998.0016 (Phone)

In-Mu Haw

Texas Christian University - M.J. Neeley School of Business ( email )

Fort Worth, TX 76129
United States
817-921-7563 (Phone)
817-921-7227 (Fax)

Steven B. Lilien

City University of New York - Stan Ross Department of Accountancy ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way, Box B12-225
New York, NY 10010
United States
646-312-3163 (Phone)
646-312-3161 (Fax)

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