Advances in Management Accounting: Volume 31

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(7 chapters)


Pages i-xvi
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This study examines how firms’ use of competitor-focused accounting information, specifically competitor monitoring information, impacts their pricing, demand, and overall revenue performance. The monitoring activities examined are the scope of monitoring, monitoring above and below one’s own hotel class (i.e., market segment), and the extent of reciprocity of monitoring. Competitor analysis is a central element in strategic management accounting (SMA), yet little empirical research has been done since companies do not disclose competitor monitoring activities. Proving the value of competitive monitoring provides strong support for SMA. Archival, proprietary monitoring information regarding pricing, demand, and revenue were obtained from one of the largest hotel markets in the United States. Using regression, we modeled the relationships between performance measures (pricing, demand, and revenue) and monitoring behaviors, while controlling for quality (hotel characteristics and management skill), competitive intensity, hotel class, geographic location, and ownership type. Our results indicate that two aspects of competitor monitoring impact hotel pricing that, in turn, impacts hotel demand and revenue performance. Specifically, a hotel monitoring more competitors (what we refer to as Scope) achieves higher prices with unchanged demand, resulting in higher revenue performance. Most hotels monitor within their class. However, deviating from one’s class has profound outcomes: looking at lower (higher) quality hotels results in a hotel setting lower (higher) prices, resulting in higher (unchanged) demand and lower (higher) revenue performance. Surprisingly, we did not find support for the reciprocity of monitoring. That is, whether the competitors monitored by a hotel, in turn follow the target, has no impact on hotel revenue performance outcomes. While the SMA literature notes the importance of competitor monitoring, this study fills a gap in an important, under-researched area by documenting the link between competitor monitoring behaviors and organizational revenue performance. This may help promote greater diffusion of SMA practices.


The purpose of this study is to conduct a comparative analysis of the economic determinants of the compensation for chief executive officers (CEOs) between the pre- and post-financial crisis periods. To conduct the comparative analysis, the authors consider five years before and five years after the financial crisis of 2008. The authors use the data from the US financial service institutions and run separate regressions for the pre- and post-crisis periods to check if there is any significant difference in the economic determinants of executive compensation before and after the financial crisis. The authors find that total compensation and its incentive components decreased significantly in the post-crisis period. In the pre-crisis period, total compensation was determined by stock performance, accounting profit, growth, and leverage, whereas in the post-crisis period stock returns and leverage are the major factors influencing total compensation. The authors also find that firms’ leverage negatively influences the sensitivity of the pay for performance, but the influence of leverage on pay for performance is weaker in the post-crisis period. Our research is significant in the context of the US economy, the regulatory reforms of financial institutions, and the perspectives of the executive compensations. This is the first study that compares the relationship between compensation and firm performance over the pre- and post-crisis periods. It is an explicit attempt to develop a theoretical understanding of the compensation/performance relationship for the financial industry, which is blamed for the financial crisis and is affected by the Dodd–Frank regulation after the crisis.


Many argue that the design of compensation contracts for public company chief executive officers (CEOs) is often not guided by a goal of value maximization. Yet, there is limited direct empirical evidence on the negative consequences of the proposed inefficient contracting between shareholders and CEOs. Using data on CEO bonus contracts of the S&P 500 firms, we investigate potential firm performance implications of the use of qualitative criteria such as leadership and mentoring in those contracts. We maintain that unlike quantitative criteria, qualitative criteria are difficult to define and measure on an objective basis, possibly resulting in an inefficient and biased incentive structure. Twenty-five percent of the sample observations have CEO bonus contracts that include a qualitative criterion for bonus payment determination. Our results show that employee productivity, asset productivity, capital expenditures, and future abnormal stock returns are lower for firms that use a qualitative criterion in CEO bonus contracts than those that do not. Further, contrary to the argument in prior literature that earnings management decreases with the use of subjective performance indicators in incentive contracts, we find that income-increasing accruals are actually higher when the CEO bonus contract includes a qualitative criterion. We recommend that compensation committees set concrete, measurable performance goals for CEOs, providing CEOs with better guidance and helping improve their corporate decision making.


The authors investigate the joint effects of two environmental variables, performance-based pay (PBP) and performance monitoring (PM), on behavioral dishonesty in a setting where the controls subsequently are absent. In a laboratory study using 88 participants in a 2×2 experimental design, simulating a work environment, the authors manipulate the presence of PBP and PM. Once the participants are accustomed to their assigned work environment and have completed contractual tasks unrelated to the dishonesty experiment, the authors allow them to privately roll dice to determine the size of a bonus gift card. Dishonesty levels are inferred from differences between treatment groups in the prizes claimed. The authors find an interaction effect, where inferred dishonesty in the performance-based-pay group is higher than the fixed-pay group when there is no PM, but lower when there is PM. Although theory and existing literature did not lead us to hypothesize these exact results, they offer important insights into a complex relationship. By jointly examining the effects of worker contracts and workplace monitoring on dishonesty, this research extends the understanding of the potential consequences of formal controls. As the workplace grows more complex, employers increasingly rely on information provided by frontline employees and managers. Thus, unintended effects of managerial controls on honesty are an important topic in the business literature.


Prior research suggests that managers engage in classification shifting using discontinued operations as an earnings management tool. The authors investigate the role of managerial ability in this type of classification shifting because prior research links high ability managers to reduced levels of earnings management. Using a large sample from 1988 to 2014, the authors find that more-able managers better mitigate the extent of classification shifting using discontinued operations. The authors also find that our results are mainly driven by firms with income-decreasing discontinued operations.


The purpose of this research study is to use a large sample of the US companies and investigate the impact of cash-to-cash cycle’s (C2C) length on company profitability and liquidity in present and future periods and also examine whether such impact is dependent upon firm size or industry type. The authors investigate the association between C2C length and return on equity (ROE), as well as liquidity ratios for current and future years using linear regression models. The authors further examine such association for separate industries and explore the effect of size on the primary associations investigated. Consistent with prior literature, this study documents that C2C length is negatively (positively) associated with current profitability (liquidity). The authors also find that there is a significant negative association between C2C length and future profitability extending up to three years, but only for firms in the manufacturing industry. This research study shows that C2C length affects a firm’s current financial performance and managers should view C2C management as an important strategic tool. However, the authors caution that C2C management is not a “one size fits all” strategy and managers in smaller firms should pay close attention to their C2C cycle. The authors also show that firms in manufacturing industry will specifically benefit financially over long-term from C2C management. This article complements existing literature that examines the impact of working capital management on a firm’s financial performance and extends the literature by examining such relationship for different industries and firm sizes. Although the authors include various factors (e.g., firm size, leverage, growth, industry, year, and past performance) in regressions to control for observable differences among firms, there might be other unobservable differences that may have an effect on the results documented.

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Advances in Management Accounting
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