Tag Archives: Roberts

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.

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.

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.

How to transition from assessing performance to enhancing performance with balanced scorecard goal action plans.

Albright, Thomas, Burgess, Christopher M, Hibbets, Aleecia R, and Roberts, Michael L.
Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance,  Sep/Oct 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 6, pp. 69-74, 6p

The balanced scorecard (BSC) has achieved widespread acceptance as a strategic performance measurement tool. This article builds on the BSC process by showing how goal action plans can be used to help organizations translate strategic goals into actionable employee behavior to improve bottom-line performance.

Four steps to simplify multimeasure performance evaluations using the balanced scorecard

Albright, Thomas L, Burgess, Christopher M, Hibbets, Aleecia R., and Roberts, Michael L.
Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance, Jul/Aug 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 5, pp. 63-68

Processing complex, unstructured information can be difficult. Since balanced scorecards can include as many as 24 or more measures, this article presents a methodology to help managers manage the complexity. The four-step process explained here can lead to accurate and consistent evaluations using both quantitative and qualitative performance measures.

An efficient method for acquiring auditing procedural knowledge

Jane Dillard-Eggers and Michael L. Roberts
Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research, Vol 13, pp.89-111

In light of advances in the theory of cognition (Anderson, 1996, 2000; Anderson & Fincham, 1994; Anderson & Lebiere, 1998) and research on learning from worked examples (Atkinson et al., 2000; Cooper & Sweller, 1987; Sweller & Cooper, 1985), this study extends earlier research findings that auditors need practice and certain kinds of feedback to acquire procedural knowledge to identify causes of variations between expected and actual financial ratios. We test an alternative form of instruction: worked examples. As predicted by Anderson’s ACT-R 4.0 theory, the results indicate individuals’ pre-test declarative knowledge interacts significantly with learning method (with or without examples) on procedural knowledge acquisition. In contrast to prior findings, this study shows that improvements in auditing procedural knowledge can be achieved by passive instruction in worked examples, a potentially more efficient (cost-effective) method than practice and feedback for auditor training.

Independence, impartiality, and advocacy in client conflicts

Michael Roberts
Research in Accounting Regulation, In Press

Prior research indicates auditors’ financial reporting judgments are conservative when client preference is unknown, but auditors are less conservative (though not client-supportive) when clients’ preferred accounting methods for favorable financial reporting are explicitly communicated. This paper reports, for the first time, a situation in which experienced auditors exhibit client-supportive behavior. Professional judgments in an audit setting in which there is an explicit client preference for a material, income-increasing reporting classification and the relevant GAAP standard is principle-based are compared to a similar judgment in a tax setting. This research design contrasts the auditor’s ethical duty to exercise “judicial impartiality” toward the client with Certified Public Accountants’ ethical duty to be a client advocate in tax contexts. The results suggest experienced CPAs’ are as client-supportive in audit settings as they are in tax settings when exercising their professional judgment, and ethical standards mandating impartiality in auditing are not uniformly being followed.

Debiasing Balanced Scorecard Evaluations

Roberts, Michael L., Albright, Thomas L. and Hibbets, Aleecia R.
Behavioral Research in Accounting, Vol. 16, Issue 1, p. 75-88

Lipe and Salterio (2000) found that superiors disregarded half of the information when using a Balanced Scorecard to evaluate the performance of two divisional managers. Only common measures affected the superiors’ holistic evaluations, defeating the purpose of the Balanced Scorecard. Our study examines whether disaggregating the Balanced Scorecard results in evaluations consistent with the intent of the Balanced Scorecard approach. Results indicate the disaggregated strategy allows superiors to utilize unique as well as common measures, thus overcoming the common-measures bias. In addition, we find Balanced Scorecard performance evaluations explain more than half the variation in subsequent compensation decisions.