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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2020

Daniel Gyung Paik, Joyce Van Der Laan Smith, Brandon Byunghwan Lee and Sung Wook Yoon

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between off-balance-sheet (OBS) operating leases and long-term debt by analyzing firms’ debt risk profiles…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between off-balance-sheet (OBS) operating leases and long-term debt by analyzing firms’ debt risk profiles measured by the constraints on firms in the financial ratios in their debt covenants.

Design/methodology/approach

This study determines debt risk profiles using three measures: the ex ante probability of covenant violation (Demerjian and Owens, 2016), firms in violation of debt covenants and firms close to covenant violations.

Findings

High-risk firms according to all three measures, on average, have a significantly lower level of operating leases, indicating that these firms use OBS leases as a substitute for long-term debt. Interestingly, for firms operating in industries in which leases are widely available, firms with a high probability of covenant violation have a significantly higher level of operating leases, indicating that these firms use OBS leases as a complement to long-term debt. Further analysis indicates that lease financing is less costly than debt financing for these firms.

Research limitations/implications

Overall, evidence of this study indicates that firms facing financial constraints may attempt to lease more of their assets, but the availability of leasing is constrained by their debt covenant obligations and the strength of the leasing market in its industry.

Originality/value

This study identifies states in which risky firms may treat leases as either complements or substitutes for long-term debt, implying that the leasing decision relates to the availability of an active leasing market for a firm’s assets and the firm’s financial constraints. The findings of this study support recent research showing that debt and leases are complementary in the presence of counterparty risk providing insight into the paradoxical relationship identified in prior research between leases and long-term debt.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Raquel Meyer Alexander, Andrew Gross, G. Ryan Huston and Vernon J. Richardson

We investigate the interaction of debt covenants and tax accounting on the adoption of Financial Interpretation No. 48 (FIN 48). We examine how firms respond to the…

Abstract

We investigate the interaction of debt covenants and tax accounting on the adoption of Financial Interpretation No. 48 (FIN 48). We examine how firms respond to the potential tightening of covenant slack upon FIN 48 adoption and whether these actions are penalized by creditors and anticipated by equity markets. We find that upon FIN 48 adoption, the majority of sample corporate borrowers increase their tax reserves and reduce equity. Firms close to debt covenant violation were even more likely to increase tax reserves upon FIN 48 adoption; however, the size of the adjustment was relatively smaller, suggesting that the FIN 48 standards limited, but did not eliminate, firms use of discretion in reporting uncertain tax positions to avoid costly covenant violations. For firms near net worth debt covenant violation, the act of decreasing equity upon FIN 48 adoption imposes real economic costs, as the average cost of debt increased by 43 basis points. Finally, we extend prior research on the market response to FIN 48 by showing how the market response to FIN 48 adoption is a function of debt covenant slack and tax aggressiveness. Specifically, the cumulative abnormal return at the FIN 48 exposure draft release date is negative only for tax aggressive firms that are close to debt covenant violation.

Details

Advances in Taxation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-524-5

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 8 September 2017

Hassan R. HassabElnaby, Ahmed Abdel-Maksoud and Amal Said

Decision-making rationality is said to be bounded by managers’ cognitive capabilities. Recent studies indicate that accounting functions evolved to augment the cognitively…

Abstract

Decision-making rationality is said to be bounded by managers’ cognitive capabilities. Recent studies indicate that accounting functions evolved to augment the cognitively bounded human brain in handling complex economic exchanges. The neuroscience discipline suggests that human brains have the ability to implement “automatic” processes of positive versus negative emotional stimuli to make rational decisions. Neuroscientific evidence shows that the activations in the ventral striatum decrease with negative emotional information/motives and increase with positive emotional information/motives. The authors, hence, argue that our understanding of the decision-making rationality in financial and managerial decisions could be enhanced by using a functional neuroimaging approach.

Decision-making rationality has been focal in debt covenant violation and earnings management research. The contracting theory predicts a relationship between managers’ decisions and the proximity of violating debt covenants. However, no prior research has investigated brain activities associated with the evaluation of debt covenant violation and earnings management. Meanwhile, in another strand of research, there is an extensive prior literature concerning the consequences of managers’ decisions and the use of accounting information in relation to their evaluative style, i.e., supervisory style. The authors argue that the relationship between the proximity to debt covenants violation and earnings management incentives is contingent upon managers’ supervisory style. However, no previous research has examined the impact of the supervisory style on earnings management in the context of the proximity to debt covenants violation and other earnings management incentives.

In this research note, we argue that neuroaccounting could be relied on to examine the relationship between the proximity to debt covenants and earnings management, contingent upon managers’ supervisory style, by capturing brain activities. The adoption of the neuroscience functional neuroimaging approach in this field should contribute to the understanding of managers’ behaviors and provide implications for research and practitioners. The goal of this research note is to provide a new avenue for future research in this field.

Details

Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-527-6

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 19 October 2020

Kirsten Cook, Tao Ma and Yijia (Eddie) Zhao

This study examines how creditor interventions after debt covenant violations affect corporate tax avoidance. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that…

Abstract

This study examines how creditor interventions after debt covenant violations affect corporate tax avoidance. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that creditor interventions increase borrowers' tax avoidance. This effect is concentrated among firms with weaker shareholder governance before creditor interventions and among those with less bargaining power during subsequent debt renegotiations. Our results indicate that creditors play an active role in shaping corporate tax policy outside of bankruptcy.

Article
Publication date: 3 May 2022

Rebekah Austin, Andrew Scott Weinberger and Jon Mohundro

Loan officer decisions are of particular importance to entrepreneurial firms which rely heavily on debt financing as a primary source of capital. The authors investigate…

Abstract

Purpose

Loan officer decisions are of particular importance to entrepreneurial firms which rely heavily on debt financing as a primary source of capital. The authors investigate whether social purpose in these firms impact loan officer response to the violation of a debt covenant and whether there is a differential response in decision making between loan officers that work at local banks and those that work at national banks.

Design/methodology/approach

In total 332 loan officers from cities in the South and Midwest United States participated in a quasi-experiment comparing entrepreneurial firms that violated their debt covenants. The loan officers were asked to evaluate loan materials and decide whether they would enforce loan covenant provisions of renegotiated interest rate and by what magnitude. In the treatment group, the loan officer evaluated loan materials of an entrepreneurial firm that included information related to the firms social purpose within their community. In the control group, the evaluation materials did not include this information.

Findings

Consistent with social capital theory, the results suggest that loan officers view community involvement as beneficial to entrepreneurial firm value. Loan officers were less likely to increase interest rates among firms that demonstrated social purpose. Loan officers that decided to increase interest rates punished socially purposeful firms less severely than non-socially purposeful firms. Additionally, loan officers at community banks were less likely to increase interest rates than those at national banks.

Originality/value

While the prior literature examines loan covenant violations, the authors focus on the impact of loan officer decision making in entrepreneurial firms specifically around covenant enforcement. Loan officer decisions have important implications for debt financing but are typically not observable to researchers. Prior work examining the relationship between social purpose and debt financing focuses on large public firms. This study recognizes that social purpose in entrepreneurial firms is less formalized and explicit and thus should be studied separately from large firms.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 July 2004

Steven C. Hall and Laurie S. Swinney

Prior research provides evidence that firms make accounting choices to avoid violation of debt covenant provisions and the resulting costs of technical default. We extend…

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Abstract

Prior research provides evidence that firms make accounting choices to avoid violation of debt covenant provisions and the resulting costs of technical default. We extend this research by asking why some firms refrain from making accounting policy changes when faced with costs of technical default. We considered two possible explanations. First, we hypothesise that these defaulting firms may lack the flexibility to make accounting changes. Second, we hypothesise that these defaulting firms may lack incentive to change accounting methods. Results confirm prior research and indicate that defaulting firms make more accounting changes than non‐defaulting firms. The decision by defaulting firms to change or not change accounting methods during the three years ending in the year of a technical default of debt covenants can be explained in part by the ability of the firm and by the incentives of the firm to make a change.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 February 2020

Brandon Ater and Thomas Bowe Hansen

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which firms manage earnings prior to private debt issuance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which firms manage earnings prior to private debt issuance.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an empirical archival research paper using financial statement data and data related to private debt issuance.

Findings

The results indicate that, on average, firms engage in income-increasing earnings management in the period prior to a new private debt issuance. In addition, it was found that this income-increasing earnings management is limited to firms which have engaged in income-increasing earnings management to a greater extent in prior years.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides insight into how managers’ balance competing incentives to use income-increasing earnings management to obtain more favorable lending terms, and to use income-decreasing earnings management to reduce the risk of a future debt covenant violation. The results indicate that firms’ incentive to use income-increasing earnings management dominates. However, reputational concerns significantly constrain firms’ earnings management decisions prior to private debt issuance.

Originality/value

The paper fills a notable void in the literature by investigating firms’ earnings management activity prior to private lending agreements, and thereby provides new insights into both the relation between private debt and accounting quality, and the literature investigating the use of earnings management to avoid debt covenant violations.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 September 2021

Amira Houaneb, amira Houaneb, Rim Ben Hassen and Dorra Talbi

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between restrictive covenants and accounting conservatism. More specially, the authors try to explain how the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between restrictive covenants and accounting conservatism. More specially, the authors try to explain how the use of restrictive covenants of public debt may affect accounting conservatism.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample is composed of non-financial firms and for each firm one debt contract is considered. The authors have used the Ball and Shivakumar (2005) models to test the relationships. All variables were retrieved from Mergent Fixed Investment Securities and COMPUSTAT Databases.

Findings

The findings of this study show that the more the firm relies on bond covenants, the higher is the degree of conservatism. The authors found also that these firms also exhibited a widely significantly increased level of conservatism in the years following the issuance of debt.

Research limitations/implications

The results should be interpreted with caution because the use of covenants does not take into consideration the tightness of their inclusion in the public debt contract.

Originality/value

This paper makes a timely contribution to the debate of timely loss recognition by confirming the complementarity between the inclusion of restrictive covenants in the debt agreement and the accounting conservatism before and after the emission of public debt.

Details

Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1985-2517

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 May 2019

Daniel Gyung Paik, Timothy Hamilton, Brandon Byunghwan Lee and Sung Wook Yoon

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between the purpose of a loan and the type of debt covenants, separated into balance sheet-based and income…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between the purpose of a loan and the type of debt covenants, separated into balance sheet-based and income statement-based covenants.

Design/methodology/approach

Using private loan deal observations obtained from the DealScan database over the period between 1996 and 2013, the authors classify the sample loan deals into three categories based on the purpose of borrowing, namely, borrowings for corporate daily operating purposes, financing purposes and acquisition and investing purposes. The authors conduct multinomial logistic regression analysis to test the relationship between the choice of financial ratios in a debt covenant and the purpose of a loan, controlling for financing constraints and other factors that have been identified as important to debt covenant analysis in prior studies.

Findings

The results provide evidence that the purpose of the loan is significantly associated with the type of debt covenants, suggesting that the lender and the borrower have considered the loan purpose when structuring their debt agreements. More specifically, the results indicate that the loans borrowed to fund acquisitions or long-term investment projects are more likely to have income statement-based covenants and less likely to have balance sheet-based covenants. In contrast, the loans borrowed for corporate daily operating purposes or financing purposes are more likely to contain balance sheet-based covenants relative to income statement-based covenants.

Research limitations/implications

The authors show that loan purpose is significantly associated with the choice between income statement-based and balance sheet-based covenants. This result further illustrates ways in which accounting information improves contracting efficiency. The results are limited to the US market with its institutional structure. In future studies, it would be interesting to perform similar investigations on firms in other countries.

Practical implications

The findings contain important and economically significant implications indicating that loan lenders and borrowers agree to include different types of accounting information (that is, income statement- versus balance sheet-based financial ratios) in their loan covenants for different purpose loans.

Social implications

Overall, the results provide important evidence regarding the connection between debt covenant structure and loan purpose. In doing so, it contributes to the literature on debt contract design (Dichev and Skinner 2002; Chava and Roberts 2008; Demerjian 2011; Christensen and Nikolaev 2012). Despite much interest in debt contract design, Skinner (2011) argues that there still exists incomplete knowledge of the economic factors that structure debt contracts. Income statement-based covenants depend on measures of profitability and efficiency and act as trip wires that transfer control rights to lenders when borrowing firms’ performance deteriorates. On the other hand, balance sheet-based covenants rely on information about sources and uses of capital and align interests between borrowing firms and lenders by restricting the borrower’s capital structure. The authors show that loan purpose is significantly associated with the choice between income statement-based and balance sheet-based covenants. This result further illustrates ways in which accounting information improves contracting efficiency.

Originality/value

This study is the first to identify differences in trends over time for the use of income statement- and balance sheet-based covenants as it relates to different loan purposes. The authors build on prior research to examine the degree to which loan purpose is associated with the choice between income statement-based and balance sheet-based covenants.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Yili Lian

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of bank interventions on bond performance in relation to loan covenant violations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of bank interventions on bond performance in relation to loan covenant violations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper tests the following questions: do bondholders receive benefits from bank interventions? Is bond performance related to the probability of bank interventions? Is the turnover of a chief executive officer (CEO) associated with bank interventions and bond performance? Abnormal bond returns, the difference between bond returns and matched bond index returns are used to measure bond performance. An estimated outstanding loan balance is used to measure the probability of bank interventions. CEO turnover is identified from proxy statements and categorized into forced and voluntary CEO turnovers. Event studies and regression analysis were used to answer the above research questions.

Findings

This paper finds that both short-term and long-term bond returns increase after covenant violations, bond performance is positively related to the probability of bank interventions, forced CEO turnovers are positively associated with the probability of bank interventions and firms with forced CEO turnovers tend to have superior bond performance.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to explore the relation between bank interventions and bond performance.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

Keywords

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