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Earnings management or forecast guidance to meet analyst expectations?

Earnings management or forecast guidance to meet analyst expectations? Abstract We examine whether UK firms engage in earnings management or forecast guidance to ensure that their reported earnings meet analyst earnings expectations. We explore two earnings management mechanisms: (a) positive abnormal working capital accruals; and (b) classification shifting of core expenses to non‐recurring items. We find no evidence of a positive association between income‐increasing, abnormal working capital accruals and the probability of meeting analyst forecasts. Instead we find evidence consistent with a subset of larger firms shifting small core expenses to other non‐recurring items to just hit analyst expectations with core earnings. We also find that the probability of meeting analyst expectations increases with downward‐guided forecasts. Overall our results suggest that UK firms are more likely to engage in earnings forecast guidance or, for a subset of larger firms, in classification shifting rather than in accruals management to avoid negative earnings surprises. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Accounting and Business Research Taylor & Francis

Earnings management or forecast guidance to meet analyst expectations?

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References (59)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
2159-4260
eISSN
0001-4788
DOI
10.1080/00014788.2009.9663347
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract We examine whether UK firms engage in earnings management or forecast guidance to ensure that their reported earnings meet analyst earnings expectations. We explore two earnings management mechanisms: (a) positive abnormal working capital accruals; and (b) classification shifting of core expenses to non‐recurring items. We find no evidence of a positive association between income‐increasing, abnormal working capital accruals and the probability of meeting analyst forecasts. Instead we find evidence consistent with a subset of larger firms shifting small core expenses to other non‐recurring items to just hit analyst expectations with core earnings. We also find that the probability of meeting analyst expectations increases with downward‐guided forecasts. Overall our results suggest that UK firms are more likely to engage in earnings forecast guidance or, for a subset of larger firms, in classification shifting rather than in accruals management to avoid negative earnings surprises.

Journal

Accounting and Business ResearchTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 1, 2009

Keywords: meeting analyst expectations; abnormal accruals; earnings forecast guidance; classification shifting

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