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Analysis of incentive effects of managers’ bonuses on real activities manipulation relevant to future operating performance

Mahdi Moradi (Department of Accounting, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran)
Mahdi Salehi (Department of Accounting, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran)
Mohammad Zamanirad (Department of Accounting, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effect of managers’ incentive bonuses on both accrual and real earnings management.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the authors investigate the relationship between managers’ bonuses and both accrual earnings management (measured by a modified Jones model) and real earnings management (measured by Roychowdhury proxies). Next, the authors examine whether management has any preferences for earnings management methods to enhance its bonuses. Finally, the authors investigate the possible effects of earnings management on future operating performance. The sample consists of compositional data in the period from 2006 to 2012.

Findings

The authors find a negative relationship between real earnings management and managers’ bonuses and detect that managers prefer to use accrual earnings management to earn more bonuses. The results also show that real earnings management will reduce a firm’s performance in future periods, and on the other hand that increasing managers’ bonuses links to improvement of the firm’s future performance. The results suggest that managers are typically aware of the negative effects of real earnings management on the firm’s future performance and thus prefer to improve the firm’s performance in securing their bonuses when their ability to manage accruals is constrained.

Originality/value

The implications of this paper provide further evidence on how managers’ bonuses affect their discretion in using accrual and real earnings management. This finding is important to investors and regulators.

Keywords

Citation

Moradi, M., Salehi, M. and Zamanirad, M. (2015), "Analysis of incentive effects of managers’ bonuses on real activities manipulation relevant to future operating performance", Management Decision, Vol. 53 No. 2, pp. 432-450. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-04-2014-0172

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited