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Comparing the financial reporting quality of Chinese and US public firms

Kareen Brown (Department of Accounting, Goodman School of Business, Brock University, Saint Catharines, Canada)
Fayez A. Elayan (Department of Accounting, Goodman School of Business, Brock University, Saint Catharines, Canada)
Jingyu Li (Department of Accounting, Goodman School of Business, Brock University, Saint Catharines, Canada)
Zhefeng Liu (Department of Accounting, Goodman School of Business, Brock University, Saint Catharines, Canada)

China Finance Review International

ISSN: 2044-1398

Article publication date: 11 April 2018

Issue publication date: 11 October 2018

695

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether US regulatory actions around reverse mergers (RM) have exerted any spillover effects on the Chinese firms listed in China and whether Chinese firms have exhibited lower financial reporting quality than their US counterparts.

Design/methodology/approach

To test the possible spillover effect, this paper calculates three-day cumulative average abnormal returns (CAAR) and the aggregate CAAR for a series of US regulatory actions in 2010 and 2011. The study then compares the accrual quality, conditional conservatism, and information content of accruals of Chinese firms and US firms.

Findings

The paper documents a spillover effect of US actions around RM on Chinese stocks listed in China. Overall results do not support the perception that Chinese firms have lower financial reporting quality than their US counterparts.

Research limitations/implications

While this study provides evidence consistent with investors perceiving poor financial reporting quality among Chinese firms, that perception is not justified by empirical evidence.

Practical implications

Investors need not be overly concerned about the financial reporting quality among the Chinese firms when they make asset allocation decisions.

Social implications

A reality check is important given that perceptions may be outdated, biased, misleading, and costly.

Originality/value

This study puts the financial reporting quality of Chinese firms into perspective helping global investors assess information risk for optimal resource allocation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Institute for International Issues in Accounting (IIIA) at Brock University. The authors thank the editor and anonymous referees for their insightful comments and suggestions. The paper has benefited from discussions and comments at the 2014 Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC) annual conference, Muskoka, Ontario; the 2014 Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA) annual conference (Dr Shahid Khan as the discussant), Edmonton, Alberta; the 2014 American Accounting Association (AAA) annual conference, Atlanta, Georgia; the 2014 China Finance Review International Conference (Professor Xuefang Zhang as the discussant), Shanghai, China; the 8th multi-disciplinary Symposium of Chinese Professors (2014), Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario; the Luncheon Speaker Series of the Goodman School of Business at Brock University (2015), and the 3rd Conference on Accounting and Financial Management (2016), Sanya, China.

Citation

Brown, K., Elayan, F.A., Li, J. and Liu, Z. (2018), "Comparing the financial reporting quality of Chinese and US public firms", China Finance Review International, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 399-424. https://doi.org/10.1108/CFRI-02-2017-0010

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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