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Accounts Manipulation: A Literature Review and Proposed Conceptual Framework

Hervé Stolowy (HEC School of Management (Groupe HEC), Department of Accounting and Management Control, 1, rue de la Libération, 78351 — Jouy en Josas Cedex, France)
Gaétan Breton (Université du Québec à Montreal, Department of Accounting Sciences, P.O.B. 8888, Succursale Centre‐Ville, Montréal (Québec), H3C 3P8 — Canada)

Review of Accounting and Finance

ISSN: 1475-7702

Article publication date: 1 January 2004

Abstract

Accounts manipulation has been the subject of research, discussion and even controversy in several countries including the USA, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Finland and France. The objective of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the literature and propose a conceptual framework for accounts manipulation. This framework is based on the possibility of wealth transfer between the different stake‐holders, and in practice, the target of the manipulation appears generally to be the earnings per share and the debt/equity ratio. The paper also describes the different actors involved and their potential gains and losses. We review the literature on the various techniques of accounts manipulation: earnings management, income smoothing, big bath accounting, creative accounting, and window‐dressing. The various definitions of all these, the main motivations behind their application and the research methodologies used are all examined. This study reveals that all the above techniques have common elements, but there are also important differences between them.

Citation

Stolowy, H. and Breton, G. (2004), "Accounts Manipulation: A Literature Review and Proposed Conceptual Framework", Review of Accounting and Finance, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 5-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb043395

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited