Category Archives: Accounting

The Heterogeneity of Board-Level Sustainability Committees and Corporate Social Performance

Jenna J Burke, Rani Hoitash, Udi Hoitash
Journal of Business Ethics,Pages: 1-26.

This paper explores an increasingly prevalent element of board-level commitment to sustainability. We propose a theoretical framework under which the existence and associated actions of board-level sustainability committees are motivated by shared value creation, where the interests of a diverse group of stakeholders are satisfied and sufficient profit is achieved. Using hand-collected data, we find that sustainability committees are heterogeneous in focus and vary in their effectiveness. Specifically, we disaggregate the …
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The impact of tax rate changes on intercorporate investment

Robert F. Gary, Jared A. Moore, Craig A. Sisneros, and William D. Terando
Advances in Accounting, Volume 34, Pp. 55–63

We examine how tax rates impact investment by corporations in the stock market. We regress changes in intercorporate investment on changes in the various individual and corporate top statutory marginal tax rates (MTRs). We find a significant negative association between changes in individual capital gains MTRs and changes in intercorporate investment, while no such association is evident for changes in either individual ordinary or dividend MTRs. These results support the notion that corporations respond to the after-tax rate of return and/or market efficiency consequences brought about by a change in individual capital gains MTRs. We find a significant positive relation between changes in intercorporate investment and changes in corporate MTRs on ordinary income. These results are consistent with corporations scaling back expansion plans and instead investing free cash flows in equity securities as MTRs increase.

The business case for integrated reporting: Insights from leading practitioners, regulators, and academics

Jenna J Burke, Cynthia E Clark
Business Horizons,Vol. 59, Issue 3, Pages: 273-283.

Integrated reporting, a new development in the reporting landscape, seeks to concisely communicate a firm’s value through a more holistic picture that integrates financial and non-financial information. This practice is in its infancy in the United States and Europe, with many firms unsure of what integrated reporting is, what its benefits are, and even how to set it up. Drawing upon transcripts from 19 unstructured panel interviews at a global symposium on the subject, we discuss the business case for integrated reporting, as well …
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The Terminology of Going Concern Standards: How Subtle Differences in Wording Can Have a Big Impact

Brian Daugherty, Carol Callaway Dee, Denise Dickins, Julia Higgs
The CPA Journal,Vol. 86, Issue 1, Pages: 34.

Applicable to auditors as well, it proscribes,” The auditor has a responsibility to evaluate whether there is substantial doubt about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed one year beyond he date of the financial statements being audited [hereinafter referred to as,? a reasonable period of time'”[emphasis added].[…] the going concern criteria in ASU 2014-15 are less aligned with IAS 1 than when first proposed.
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Comments of the Auditing Standards Committee of the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association on PCAOB Concept Release on Audit Quality Indicators, No. 2015-005, July 1, 2015: Participating Committee Members

Zabihollah Rezaee, John Abernathy, Monika Causholli, Paul N Michas, Pamela B Roush, Stephen Rowe, Uma K Velury
Current Issues in Auditing,Vol. 10, Issue 1, Pages: C11-C27.

On July 1, 2015, the Public Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) issued its Concept Release seeking comments by September 29, 2015 on a portfolio of 28 potential Audit Quality Indicators (AQIs). The Auditing Standards Committee of the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association is pleased to provide comments on the PCAOB Rulemaking Docket Matter No. 041. The committee wholeheartedly supports the development, implementation, and disclosure of AQIs, and commends the PCAOB for its …
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Do Colleges Get What They Pay For? Evidence on Football Coach Pay and Team Performance

Gary J. Colbert and E. Woodrow Eckard
Journal of Sports Economics, Vol. 16. Issue 4, 335-352

We use a data set of Football Bowl Subdivision (Division-IA) universities to investigate the hypothesis that higher coach pay leads to improved team performance. Our analysis finds that pay and team performance are positively correlated and that, when schools change coaches, higher pay is associated with improved performance. The evidence suggests that additional rating points are increasingly valuable, perhaps over US$1 million for top teams. Our descriptive analysis reveals the median 2011 head coach pay of US$1.2 million, significant increases over our 2006-2011 study period, and large disparities among schools and conferences. We conclude that administrators perceive highly ranked football teams have significant value.

Cognitive Responses to Partitioned Pricing of Consumption Taxes: Consequences for State and Local Tax Revenues

Cynthia Blanthorne and Michael L. Roberts
The Journal of the American Taxation Association, Vol. 37, Issue 1, pp. 183-204

How do taxpayers respond cognitively to add-on sales taxes versus all-inclusive excise taxes? If structural variations produce cognitive differences, then do the differences affect buying behavior? These are important questions because consumer spending drives the U.S. economy and directly determines the amount of tax revenues collected from consumption taxes.

If the negative opinion that people have about taxes (Tax Foundation 2009) increases the saliency of the tax, then an add-on sales tax might decrease consumer spending more than an all-inclusive excise tax pricing structure. Instead, results suggest that demand is higher when the add-on component is a sales tax as compared to an excise tax that is embedded into the total price. The effects on demand are even more pronounced and people recall lower prices when the add-on sales tax is presented as a percentage of the base price—as is generally the case in the U.S.—rather than as an additional currency component.

Infer, predict, and assure: Accounting opportunities in data analytics

Gary P Schneider, Jun Dai, Diane J Janvrin, Kemi Ajayi, Robyn L Raschke
Accounting Horizons,Vol. 29, Issue 3, Pages: 719-742.

The business use of data analytics is growing rapidly in the accounting environment. Similar to many new systems that involve accounting information, data analytics has fundamentally changed task processes, particularly those tasks that provide inference, prediction, and assurance to decision-makers. Thus, accounting researchers and practitioners must consider data analytics and its impact on accounting practice in their work. This paper uses the organizing principles from Mauldin and Ruchala’s (1999) meta-theory …
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Who did the audit? Audit quality and disclosures of other audit participants in PCAOB filings

Carol Callaway Dee, Ayalew Lulseged, Tianming Zhang
The Accounting Review,Vol. 90, Issue 5, Pages: 1939-1967.

We empirically test whether audit quality is affected when part of an SEC issuer’s audit is outsourced to auditors other than the principal auditor (“participating auditors”). We find a significantly negative market reaction and a significant decline in earnings response coefficients (ERCs) for experimental issuers disclosed for the first time as having participating auditors involved in their audits. However, we find no market reaction and no decline in ERCs for a matching sample of issuers that are not disclosed as using …
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Grand Teton Candy Company: Connecting the Dots in a Fraud Investigation

Carol Callaway Dee, Cindy Durtschi, and Mary P. Mindak
Issues in Accounting Education, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp. 443-458.

Grand Teton Candy Company (GTCC) is considering an initial public offering (IPO). To go public, GTCC will need an audit by a large accounting firm with a solid reputation and experience in audits of IPOs. As a precursor to the formal audit, Elsie Driggs, one of the owners of GTCC, has hired her brother’s CPA firm to ensure the books are in order. Her brother notices some red flags of fraud, so he forms a team of young accountants from his firm to carefully comb through his sister’s records to ensure she does not have problems when the formal audit takes place. You have been placed on the team and your task is to investigate your boss’ suspicions that there is fraud at Grand Teton Candy Company. You are to prepare a written report for your boss that includes the name of the fraudster(s), what he or she did, and how the perpetrator(s) benefited from the crime.

Behavioral-economic nudges and performance measurement models

Mary A Malina, Frank H Selto
Journal of Management Accounting Research,Vol. 27, Issue 1, Pages: 27-45.

We describe the context wherein a Fortune 500 company’s performance measurement model (PMM) has endured and evolved over a 15-year period. The PMM’s tenure and continued importance refute the alleged faddish nature of PMMs such as the Balanced Scorecard, at least in this case, and allow identification of factors that add to theory about PMM longevity. We use a behavioral-economic framework and qualitative and quantitative data to examine the mechanisms behind this successful PMM. Aspects of the …
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Have CPAs Captured State Accountancy Boards?

Gary J. Colbert and Dennis F. Murray
Accounting and the Public Interest, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp. 85-104

All states in the U.S. regulate the practice of public accounting. An important part of the regulatory apparatus is the state accountancy board (SAB). SABs implement the laws that govern public accounting. State societies of CPAs (SSCPAs), in contrast, are advocacy mechanisms that can potentially be used by members of the profession to achieve their regulatory objectives. Economic theory raises the possibility that regulatory bodies such as SABs might be captured by the profession that they regulate. We examine the composition of SABs and find that the majority of members are CPAs. A survey of CPA SAB members reveals that nearly one-third of the respondents are past leaders of their SSCPAs. We further find that the percentage of board members who are CPAs and the percentage of our respondents who are past leaders of their SSCPAs are positively associated with the rapidity with which states adopt two important accountancy laws (interstate mobility and the 150-hour education requirement) that can be viewed as being in the best interest of the profession. These findings support the hypothesis of regulatory capture and suggest that states may benefit from reconsidering the qualifications of SAB members.

The Evolution Of A Balanced Scorecard

Mary A Malina
Journal of Applied Business Research, Vol 29, Issue 3

Both professionals and academics have long criticized the use of traditional financial performance measures and called for balance in performance measurement systems. In 1992, Kaplan and Norton introduced the Balanced Scorecard and it has been adopted widely around the world and offered as a superior combination of nonfinancial and financial measures of performance. This paper is the result of a 15-year field study of a Fortune 500 company’s Balanced Scorecard. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected to address the following research questions with respect to the Balanced Scorecard: 1) What has changed over time? 2) What has not changed over time? 3) Why has it endured? Changes highlighted are that the Balanced Scorecard was unaffected by a major change in organizational structure, a narrowing of focus and reduction in the scope over time, processes for changing the design were formalized, and that it has become engrained in the compensation system. Factors that have remained constant over time are the purpose of the Balanced Scorecard, its use for relative performance evaluation, and its use as a tool for best practice sharing. Two factors that appear to explain why it has endured are its use as a learning and communication tool and its ability to influence behavior. The paper concludes with a list of key success factors for building and sustaining a successful scorecard. This list might also be helpful to researchers seeking to investigate the design, use or impact of a Balanced Scorecard.

Bankruptcy outcomes: Does the board matter?

Dahlia Robinson, Michael Robinson and Craig Sisneros
Advances in Accounting, Vol 28, Issue 2, Dec 2012, Pages 270–278

We examine the association between board composition and bankruptcy outcomes. Preliminary analyses provide no evidence that the proportion of outside directors is significantly associated with the likelihood that a Chapter 11 firm liquidates. Further analyses indicate, however, that the relation between the proportion of outside directors and bankruptcy outcomes is a function of the outside directors’ ownership. More specifically, we find that the association is positive when outside director ownership is low and negative when it is high. The overall evidence supports the notion that a one-size-fits-all approach to corporate governance is likely to result in suboptimal board structures and hinder firms’ strategies for dealing with poor performance.

Practitioner summary “Should PCAOB Disciplinary Proceedings Be Made Public? Evidence from Sanctions against a Big 4 Auditor”

Carol Callaway Dee,Ayalew Lulseged,and Tianming Zhang
Current Issues in Auditing, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp. 18-24

In our paper “Client Stock Market Reaction to PCAOB Sanctions against a Big 4 Auditor” (Dee et al. 2011), we examine stock price effects for clients of a Big 4 audit firm when news of sanctions imposed by the PCAOB against the audit firm was made public. These PCAOB penalties were the first against a Big 4 auditor, and they revealed information about quality-control problems at the audit firm that were not publicly known until the sanctions were announced. Our analysis of stock prices suggests that investors in clients of the penalized Big 4 firm reevaluated their perceptions of the quality of the firm’s audit work after learning of the sanctions. The negative stock price effects for the firm’s clients were consistent with investors inferring that the financial statements were of lower quality. In the paper, we conclude that investors find information about PCAOB sanctions against audit firms to be relevant in assessing audit quality and use that information in setting stock prices for audit firms’ clients. This finding has relevance for the debate on the proposed legislation in Congress (H.R. 3503), which would allow the PCAOB to disclose proceedings against auditors before the investigations are concluded. Our results suggest that, although investors may find early disclosure of this information useful, public disclosure of Board disciplinary proceedings before they are completed could unfairly harm an audit firm’s reputation if the firm is ultimately vindicated of wrongdoing.

Should pcaob disciplinary proceedings be made public? evidence from sanctions against a big 4 auditor

Carol Callaway Dee, Ayalew Lulseged, Tianming Zhang
Current Issues in Auditing,Vol. 6, Issue 2, Pages: P18-P24.

SUMMARY: In our paper “Client Stock Market Reaction to PCAOB Sanctions against a Big 4 Auditor”(Dee et al. 2011), we examine stock price effects for clients of a Big 4 audit firm when news of sanctions imposed by the PCAOB against the audit firm was made public. These PCAOB penalties were the first against a Big 4 auditor, and they revealed information about quality-control problems at the audit firm that were not publicly known until the sanctions were announced. Our analysis of stock prices suggests that investors in clients of the …
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Negative Special Items and Future Earnings: Expense Transfer or Real Improvements?

William M. Cready, Thomas J. Lopez, and Craig A. Sisneros
The Accounting Review, Vol. 87, Issue 4, pp. 1165–1195

Burgstahler et al. (2002) investigate the implications of special items for future earnings and report that firms use negative special items to accelerate the recognition of future expenses into the current period. That is, negative special items serve as an ‘‘inter-period transfer’’ device. We extend their analysis and find that earnings increase in post-special item quarters beyond the four quarters considered in Burgstahler et al. (2002). In particular, we find that future earnings increase over the subsequent 16 quarters by more than 130 percent of the reported negative special item. The earnings increases are greater for restructuring charges than for asset write-downs or goodwill impairment charges. Such patterns suggest that negative special items also signal real future performance improvements (i.e., performance improvement hypothesis) in addition to inter-period expense transfer (i.e., inter-period transfer hypothesis). Moreover, the real improvement effect appears to be driven by restructuring charges, the most prevalent type of special item.

Management control systems dilemma: Reconciling sustainability with information overload

Bruce R Neumann, Eric Cauvin, Michael L Roberts
Advances in Management Accounting, Volume 20, pp. 1-28.

In the growing debate about designing new management control systems (MCS) to include stakeholder values, there has been little discussion about information overload. Stakeholder advocates call for including more environmental and related social disclosures but do not consider how information overload might impair the use and interpretation of corporate performance measures. As we know, shareholders and boards of directors are most concerned with market data such as earnings per share, dividend rates and market value growth. In this chapter we assert that management control system designers must consider information overload before expanding MCS to include social and nonfinancial disclosures.

Lessons learned: advantages and disadvantages of mixed method research

Mary A. Malina, Hanne S.O. Nørreklit, and Frank H. Selto
Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 8 Iss: 1, pp.59 – 71

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is first, to discuss the theoretical assumptions, qualities, problems and myopia of the dominating quantitative and qualitative approaches; second, to describe the methodological lessons that the authors learned while conducting a series of longitudinal studies on the use and usefulness of a specialized balanced scorecard; and third, to encourage researchers to actually use multiple methods and sources of data to address the very many accounting phenomena that are not fully understood.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper is an opinion piece based on the authors’ experience conducting a series of longitudinal mixed method studies.

Findings – The authors suggest that in many studies, using a mixed method approach provides the best opportunity for addressing research questions.

Originality/value – This paper provides encouragement to those who may wish to bridge the authors’ ideological gaps and to those who are actively trying to do so.

Stakeholder value disclosures: anchoring on primacy and importance of financial and nonfinancial performance measures

Bruce R. Neumann, Michael L. Roberts and Eric Cauvin
Review of Managerial Science Vol. 5, Issue 2-3, Pages: 195-212

In the growing debate about stakeholder values, there has been little discussion about information overload or whether the requested disclosures can be effectively used. Stakeholder advocates call for complicated and massive environmental and related social disclosures while not considering how information overload might affect the discourse about corporate performance. Stakeholders, including shareholders, plead for more transparency in financial statements, management discussion and analysis (MDA), and other corporate disclosures. As we know, shareholders and boards of directors are most concerned with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of earnings per share, dividends and market value changes. We believe that managers and stakeholders involved in performance evaluations have multiple interests that extend beyond traditional shareholder value measures. We note that the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) was developed as one tool to reflect and communicate these multiple measures. We test how managers use (or ignore) multiple performance measures and we posit that stakeholders will face many of the same constraints when using and processing multiple disclosures including Corporate Social Reports (CSR), environmental, or similar disclosures. While we do not directly test a wide variety of stakeholder disclosures, we examine eight (four for a single subject) shareholder values (financial measures) and four stakeholder values (nonfinancial measures). The eight measures included in our research instruments serve as proxies for the multiple concerns that might be of interest to many stakeholders. Note that stakeholders are likely to be extremely interested in nonfinancial performance measures, while many shareholders will likely concentrate on financial performance measures. Field research has reported managers tend to favor financial measures while discounting or ignoring nonfinancial measures when evaluating subordinates, making it difficult to align performance evaluations and incentives with corporate strategies (Ittner et al. Account Rev 78:725–758, 2003). In this study, we find the relative weights managers place on financial and nonfinancial performance measures are influenced by both (1) presentation order and (2) the relative importance of specific measures. When financial measures are presented first, the manager who performs better on financial measures is rated higher than the manager who performs better on nonfinancial measures. However, when nonfinancial measures are presented first, managers who excel on nonfinancial measures are rated higher. Reports that include financial measures that are relatively more (less) important also produce higher (lower) ratings for the manager who excels on financial measures. Thus, the relative weights that superiors place on financial and nonfinancial measures in evaluating corporate managers’ performance are substantially anchored both by the order in which measures are presented as well as by the importance of the specific performance measures employed. Other stakeholder disclosures are likely to be similarly anchored, perhaps biased, by primacy and a priori importance rankings.