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Article
Publication date: 9 February 2015

Hui Di and Dalia Marciukaityte

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether firms engage in earnings decreasing management before share repurchases to mislead investors or to smooth earnings and…

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1266

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether firms engage in earnings decreasing management before share repurchases to mislead investors or to smooth earnings and improve earnings informativeness.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors examine discretionary accruals and cash flows around open-market share repurchases. The primary discretionary accruals measure is industry- and performance-adjusted discretionary current accruals estimated from cash-flow data.

Findings

Results show that, firms experience temporary increases in operating cash flows and use negative discretionary accruals to smooth earnings before share repurchases. Firms with the highest pre-repurchase cash flows use the lowest pre-repurchase discretionary accruals. Moreover, pre-repurchase discretionary accruals reflect expectations about future operating cash flows. Firms with the strongest deterioration in operating cash flows after repurchases use the lowest pre-repurchase discretionary accruals. These findings suggest that repurchasing firms use earnings management to increase smoothness and predictability of reported earnings rather than to mislead investors.

Originality/value

This paper provides an alternative explanation to the finding of negative discretionary accruals before share repurchases. It adds to the literature on repurchases and earnings smoothing by showing that firms use earnings management around share repurchases to smooth earnings.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2020

Awad Elsayed Awad Ibrahim, Tarek Abdelfattah and Khaled Hussainey

The authors examine whether managers switch from artificial income smoothing using discretionary accruals to real income smoothing around corporate governance reform in Egypt.

Abstract

Purpose

The authors examine whether managers switch from artificial income smoothing using discretionary accruals to real income smoothing around corporate governance reform in Egypt.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample comprises 61 non-financial companies listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange for the years 2004–2011. The authors use discretionary accruals as a proxy for artificial income smoothing and income/loss from asset sales as a proxy for real income smoothing.

Findings

The authors offer a significant contribution to accounting literature by providing new empirical evidence on the trade-off between real smoothing technique (e.g. income/loss from asset sales) and discretionary accruals around governance reform in a developing country.

Research limitations/implications

This study suffers from some limitations. First, the study sample is limited to only 338 observations. However, this is due to collecting the data manually and to the small number of listed firms during the study period. Second, the study period ended in 2011 due to the unprecedented political instability after the 2011 Egyptian people revolution. Third, although this study examines the effect of corporate governance, not all the governance aspects have been examined in the study models due to the lack of data.

Practical implications

First, the results of the total samples reveal that managers prefer real income smoothing than accruals income smoothing. This result may confirm the literature arguments on the advantages of REM methods over AEM methods. Cohen et al. (2008) find that firms switch to manage earnings using REM methods and explain that REM methods are harder to detect because they depend on operating decisions (Schipper, 1989). REM can be undertaken anytime during the year (Gunny, 2010). Besides, REM could not be deemed a violation of accounting standards or regulations (MyVay, 2006).

Originality/value

The authors offer a significant contribution to accounting literature by providing new empirical evidence on the trade-off between real smoothing technique (e.g. income/loss from asset sales) and discretionary accruals around governance reform in a developing country.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Ahsan Habib and Haiyan Jiang

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether managerial ownership‐induced income smoothing accentuates or attenuates an information asymmetry problem. Standard agency…

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1804

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether managerial ownership‐induced income smoothing accentuates or attenuates an information asymmetry problem. Standard agency theory suggests that managerial ownership may play a significant role in alleviating agency problems between managers and external shareholders that can arise from information asymmetry. According to this view, managerial ownership‐induced income smoothing could convey managerial private information and could, therefore, be considered as informative. However, managerial ownership could also entrench managers with absolute control of firms, and encourage them to engage in earnings manipulation, including earnings smoothing, in order to hide private benefits of control.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses two smoothing measures, and separate total smoothing into its innate and discretionary components. The former is determined by firm fundamentals, whereas discretionary smoothing allows managers the flexibility to use it for either informative or opportunistic reasons. The paper then regresses information asymmetry, as proxied by scaled bid‐ask‐spreads, on the interaction between managerial ownership and both these smoothing components.

Findings

The paper documents that managerial ownership‐induced discretionary smoothing has a positive effect on bid‐ask spreads. This result seems to support the entrenchment view of managerial ownership.

Practical implications

This study offers insights to policy makers interested in enhancing the effectiveness of the managerial ownership aspect of corporate governance in New Zealand.

Originality/value

This paper uses agency theory to provide a comparative assessment of the efficient versus the entrenchment hypotheses with respect to managerial ownership.

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Article
Publication date: 20 August 2018

Manu Gupta and Puneet Prakash

This paper aims to study differences in risk behavior between holding companies that undertake both banking activity and insurance underwriting (labeled financial holding…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study differences in risk behavior between holding companies that undertake both banking activity and insurance underwriting (labeled financial holding companies or FHCs) and stand-alone bank holding companies (BHCs).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines the discretionary accruals of FHCs to comparable BHCs and compares their bad loans-to-assets ratio in the future.

Findings

FHCs have lower discretionary accruals (loan loss provisions and realized capital gains) than BHCs. FHCs fare better than BHCs in terms of bad loans-to-assets ratio. Insurance underwriting has a dampening effect on discretionary accruals of FHCs.

Research limitations/implications

This study raises additional research questions. Do shared governance and insurance underwriting serve as substitutes or complements? Will regulatory environment affect this relation?

Practical implications

When reported earnings do not match true earnings, the market participants lose the ability to price correctly, and the regulators lose the ability to effectively regulate banks. From the regulatory perspective, these findings suggest insurance underwriting by banks mitigate potential market distortions.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to study the effect of underwriting insurance risk on earnings management behavior of BHCs and its link to risk governance.

Details

The Journal of Risk Finance, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1526-5943

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2016

Rui Ma, Hamish D. Anderson and Ben R. Marshall

The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on liquidity in international stock markets, highlights differences and similarities in empirical results across…

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3016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on liquidity in international stock markets, highlights differences and similarities in empirical results across existing studies, and identifies areas requiring further research.

Design/methodology/approach

International cross-country studies on stock market liquidity are categorized and reviewed. Important relevant single-country studies are also discussed.

Findings

Market liquidity is influenced by exchange characteristics (e.g. the presence of market makers) and regulations (e.g. short-sales constraints). The literature has identified the most appropriate liquidity measures for global research, and for emerging and frontier markets, respectively. Major empirical facts are as follows. Liquidity co-varies within and across countries. Both the liquidity level and liquidity uncertainty are priced internationally. Liquidity is positively associated with firm transparency and share issuance, and negatively related to dividends paid out. The impact of internationalization on liquidity is not universal across firms and countries. Some suggested areas for future studies include: dark pools, high-frequency trading, commonality in liquidity premium, funding liquidity, liquidity and capital structure, and liquidity and transparency.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focusses on international stock markets and does not consider liquidity in international bond or foreign exchange markets.

Originality/value

This paper provides a comprehensive survey of empirical studies on liquidity in international developed and emerging stock markets.

Details

Managerial Finance, vol. 42 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2016

Sandeep Goel

Income smoothing is exercised by the management for numerous reasons. Growth opportunities available to a firm are a very important reason but an undermined area for…

Abstract

Purpose

Income smoothing is exercised by the management for numerous reasons. Growth opportunities available to a firm are a very important reason but an undermined area for income smoothing by the management. This paper aims to review the income smoothing practices in corporate enterprises in India with respect to growth pattern of a firm as measured by investment opportunity set (IOS) defined in Fudenberg and Tirole’s (1995) model. In India, the main corporate ownership model is promoter dominated shareholders model. This makes the study unique highlighting the role of board for income smoothing. The study contributes by extending this model to earnings per share definition with IOS by a firm. The study also investigates the level of income smoothing and its impact on the informativeness of earnings in regard to IOS.

Design/methodology/approach

The enterprises have been chosen on the basis of their performance in terms of profit generation [profit after tax (PAT) performance] for the year 2007-2008 as per Economic Times October 2007 Survey in a private sector. The period to be covered is from 2003-2004 to 2007-2008. 2007-2008 has been a year of global recession which is an indicative reason for income smoothing by the corporate. DeAngelo model has been used for calculating discretionary accruals and detecting income smoothing. Fudenberg and Tirole’s (1995) model has been specifically used in studying the relationship between IOS and income smoothing. Specifically, we use three variables to construct an index of the IOS of each firm, market-to-book assets, market-to-book equity and the earnings price ratio.

Findings

An examination of the units shows that there is smoothing behaviour exercised by them. Analytical results of anticipatory smoothing and the IOS propose that concern about job security creates an incentive for managers to smooth earnings in consideration of both current and future relative performance. More explicitly, the extent of smoothing is expected to be negatively related to the level of IOS in periods of low current/high future performance and positively related to the level of IOS in periods of high current/low future performance. The empirical results confirmed our predictions.

Research limitations/implications

The sampling requirements were met by 12 units only of top 25 units, taken for the study. So, the present study was confined to only 12 profit-making corporate enterprises in the private sector in India, leaving all other enterprises. Though these companies constitute a significant size of Bombay Stock Exchange’s market capitalization for completeness of data, still the size can be extended for further study. The present study has not considered public sector units and closely held companies. The scope of the units can be extended to other units in diverse sectors with different size and scale of operations. It would further verify the present discussion and also provide future enlightenment on the issue of income smoothing. The magnitude of discretionary accruals has been analysed in regard to potential earnings management. But, discretionary accruals are not directly available. They are calculated as a proxy using a model. Estimating discretionary accruals is still a tedious task.

Practical implications

The results clearly indicate that growth opportunities available to a firm are potential indicative of a firm’s income smoothing behaviour. The findings of this study are important to standard setters and regulators, as it highlights the need for an effective regulation for detecting income smoothing. There is a strong need to have well-defined policies and regulatory mechanism with respect to prevent and detect income manipulation practices at an early stage. Standard-setting bodies can consider the attributes of assets and liabilities and changes in them also with the fundamental process of measurement of income. In short, the evidence argues for a revenue/expense and asset/liability view of earnings, rather than the cash-flow view of earnings. The findings of this study are important to policymakers and other stakeholders, as it highlights the need for an effective board in discharging their role qualitatively, rather than quantitatively.

Social implications

It brings out the importance of fair accounting for shareholders.

Originality/value

It is an original paper which highlights the income smoothing behaviour in Indian corporate enterprises in terms of growth opportunities available to them.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2004

Hervé Stolowy and Gaétan Breton

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…

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3909

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.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2004

Kiridaran Kanagaretnam, Gerald J. Lobo and Robert Mathieu

Prior research demonstrates that share prices reflect a risk premium that is associated with earnings variability. This suggests that managers can reduce the cost of…

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1208

Abstract

Prior research demonstrates that share prices reflect a risk premium that is associated with earnings variability. This suggests that managers can reduce the cost of capital and increase share prices by reducing earnings variability. In this study, we investigate bank managers' use of discretion in estimating loan loss provisions (LLP) to reduce earnings variability. We find that banks with relatively high pre‐managed earnings have positive discretionary LLP and banks with relatively low pre‐managed earnings have negative discretionary LLP, results that are consistent with the hypothesis of earnings management to reduce earnings variability. In addition, we find that bank managers' decisions to reduce earnings variability are related to the need for external financing and to gains and losses on the sale of securities which serve as substitutes for accomplishing their objective of earnings variability reduction.

Details

Review of Accounting and Finance, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1475-7702

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2012

Anh Duc Ngo and Oscar Varela

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of earnings smoothing on the underpricing of seasoned equity offerings (SEOs). It aims to investigate whether earnings…

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1482

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of earnings smoothing on the underpricing of seasoned equity offerings (SEOs). It aims to investigate whether earnings smoothing can add value to firms by reducing the degree of SEO underpricing.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample of US common stock seasoned equity offerings (SEOs) by non‐regulated firms during 1989‐2009 was used to conduct various cross‐section, univariate, and multivariate tests, using several proxies for earnings smoothing, in order to confirm the impact of earnings smoothing on the degree of SEO underpricing. Three‐stage least square estimation was used to address the possible endogeneity of pricing and earnings smoothing.

Findings

Smooth earnings performance resulting from discretionary accruals is negatively related to SEO underpricing and improves earnings informativeness. Consistent with risk management and signaling theories, managers' efforts to produce smooth earning reports may add value to their firms. Based on the mean values for SEOs, such smoothing reduces underpricing by $0.33 per share offered and increases the value of the average offering by $1.65 million. Smoothed earnings also conveys information about the firms' future performance, as firms with a long historical pattern of smooth earnings prior to SEOs significantly outperform, for at least three years after the SEO, those with more volatile earnings, with respect to stock returns and operating performance.

Originality/value

The paper contributes specifically to the current literature on earnings smoothing by demonstrating that high quality firms that expect larger quantity of cash flows in the near future are more likely to actively smooth earnings via discretionary accruals before SEOs to reduce underpricing. The paper contributes generally by showing that firms can signal their quality to outside investors by showing smooth earnings over a long period of time and such firms are more likely to experience a lower degree of underpricing through SEO episodes.

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Raheel Safdar and Chen Yan

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether income smoothing helps to reduce volatility in reported earnings and which firms are more inclined to be engaged in…

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2809

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether income smoothing helps to reduce volatility in reported earnings and which firms are more inclined to be engaged in income smoothing.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used negative correlation between pre-managed earnings of a firm and its discretionary accruals (DAs) as proxy for income smoothing and the firms having more negative correlation coefficient are expected to have lower volatility in their reported earnings. The authors used Kothari et al.’s (2005) version of modified-Jones model to estimate DAs and used least squares estimations to investigate the research questions using six-year (2007-2012) sample of non-financial firms listed over Karachi Stock Exchange, Pakistan.

Findings

The authors found that firms experiencing more volatility in economic activities and smaller firms are more aggressively involved in income smoothing. Moreover, a predominant majority (72.2 per cent) of firms in the sample are involved in income smoothing through accruals manipulation. Also, the authors found that firms which are more aggressively involved in income smoothing have lesser volatility in reported earnings. Lastly, the level of DAs per se does not have any impact on income smoothing.

Research limitations/implications

The proxy used for income smoothing, though the authors consider it to be better, is not the only one used in literature and the sample is limited to Pakistan.

Originality/value

This study adds to earnings management literature by providing evidence on extensive accrual manipulation for income smoothing in Pakistan.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

Keywords

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