The Effects Of CFO Turnover On Accounting Accruals

How nonsubjective is a net income figure? In fixing fiscal statements there are ( about ) ever picks and estimations to go through. An illustration is the rating of a company at the balance sheet.

Is the rating based on cost ( including or excepting acquisition ) on replacing cost or economic value? Is depreciation performed on the footing of rente or additive depreciation? Often these options are taken every bit objectively as possible. However it may be possible that person could hold an involvement in a certain result.

In concern universe there has been done much research with sing to net incomes direction.


The attending of stakeholders and media has late been directed toward Chief Financial Officers ( CFOs ) and the function they play in making and unwraping accurate or deceitful fiscal information ( Financieel Management 2007 ) . While inaccurate information is non a new job for the fiscal markets, the recent media and public call over fiscal describing misbehaviour by corporate functionaries is a affair of the last old ages. As a consequence of the fiscal frauds and subsequent bankruptcy filings of several big corporaA­tions, stakeholders and the concern imperativeness have put inquiries about the truth and completeness of the fiscal coverage of these companies. The overall sentiment was that the duty for deceitful describing belonged non merely to the Chief Executive Officers ( CEOs ) , who have concluding inadvertence authorization for the company, but besides to the CFOs. There could be a important function of the CFO with relation to modern-day fiscal coverage, but to what extent this function existed was unknown.

In the US there has been adopted a formal demand, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ( SOx ) , specific for this job. It holds non merely the CEO, but besides the CFO personally accountable for the truth and completeness of the fiscal information released by the company ( Geiger and Taylor 2003 ) . In other words, CFOs in the US have now the same degree of duty as CEOs with respect to fiscal statements.

Despite the fact that CFO ‘s are extremely involved in the fiscal coverage procedure, small academic research has been conducted to analyze the consequence of the CFO on a corporation ‘s reported fiscal consequences. There has been considerable research sing the consequence of new CEOs on corporate fiscal coverage ( Strong and Meyer 1987 ; DeAngelo 1988 ; Pourciau 1993 ; Murphy and Zimmerman 1993 ) and the relationship between the timing of direction actions and reported fiscal consequences ( Aboody and Kasznik 2000 ; Bartov and Mohanran 2004 ; Yermack 1997 ) , yet there has been really small probe sing the relationship between freshly appointed CFOs and reported fiscal information ( Mian 2001 ) .

Past surveies have demonstrated that discretional accounting accumulations are the most appropriate step of the knowing influence of direction on fiscal coverage. Discretionary accumulations are believed to be capable to more reporting judgement and are more easy manipulated than nondiscretionary accumulations. If people hired for CFO places have possibilities to hold a considerable influence on the coverage of their company ‘s fiscal state of affairs, so a replacing of the CFO place may take to different fiscal consequences within the same concern fortunes. Consequently, in this research the relationship between engaging a new CFO and the alterations in a company ‘s reported accounting accumulations environing this turnover event will be investigated, particularly the discretional portion of these accumulations. If CFOs have the ability to organize the reported fiscal statements, so the work out of this ability would be seeable in the reported discretional accumulations in instance of a alteration in the place of CFO. Consequently, an appraisal of discretional accumulations fluctuation environing CFO assignments provides empirical grounds sing the significance of the ability to organize the reported fiscal statements of their companies.

The initial motive to put up this research came from an net incomes direction position. From this position directors could show a more favourable image to markets and maximise compensation in the signifier of fillips and wage additions tied to accomplishing fiscal marks ( Healy and Wahlen 1999 ) . Bonuss and compensation contracts for company executives are frequently predicated on the prior-year ‘s fiscal or stock monetary value public presentations and give the current CFO important inducement to make corporate net income and fiscal public presentation marks in order to maximise his/her personal wealth. Further motive for this survey came from the dearth of research in this country and besides from the heightened and on-going involvement of regulators, legislators, and investors sing corporate fiscal coverage and the engagement of the CFO for the release of accurate fiscal information ( Geiger and Taylor, 2003 ) .

Research Objective and Questions


The chief aim of this survey is to lend to the corporate administration and discretional accumulations literatures by measuring whether the company ‘s reported discretional accumulations are associated with the assignment of a new CFO.

This consequence will be through empirical observation tested by looking at the alterations in discretional accumulations environing the twelvemonth of CFO assignment. There will be made usage of hypotheses which will analyze the relationship between the variables act uponing the accumulations.

Research Question

The research inquiry I want to reply in this survey is as following:

What are the effects of CFO turnover on the reported discretional accounting accumulations between 2002 and 2004 in European listed companies?

1.3 Sub Questions

1. What is the sensitiveness of discretional accumulations for direction turnover?

2. What are the differences between former CFOs and new CFOs with respect to coverage?

3. What is the consequence of a concurrent CEO assignment on discretional accumulations?

4. How much are the influences of other factors on discretional accumulations?

5. What are the duties of the CFO and CEO with respect to coverage?

The fiscal system of a house contains several of import constituents, including fiscal coverage, exchequer and revenue enhancement direction, investing direction, cost direction, budgeting, capital elevation, and fiscal scheme. In big houses, these maps are split up between the accountant and the financial officer, both of whom study to the CFO. In little houses, there may non be a separate accountant or financial officer, and their several maps can both shack in the CFO ‘s office. Equally far as the fiscal coverage map is concerned, the CFO oversees readying of fiscal studies and serves as the point individual for external communicating of fiscal scheme, a function that includes conference calls with analysts.

Theoretical Model

2.1 Defining Net incomes Management

“ Net incomes direction is the pick by a trough of accounting policies so as to accomplish some specific aim. ” Normally, the accounting policies set out in GAAP do non necessitate specific accounting policies for directors to follow. For illustration, GAAP allows a company to take the amortisation policy that best reflects the usage of an plus ; this flexibleness allows directors to accurately reflect the gaining potency of the plus. Therefore, while the consequences of net incomes direction may non stand for the existent hard currency flows for the period, it should reflect the period ‘s grosss and disbursals. Provided that direction corsets within the ordinances of GAAP, this type of net incomes direction is allowed. Because directors have the discretion to take those accounting policies that best reflect the concern of the house, it can be assumed that directors will take those accounting policies that can set themselves and their companies in the best possible visible radiation. Particularly, directors can utilize net incomes direction for personal grounds ( for illustration, increasing current period net incomes to have a fillip ) and directors can utilize net incomes direction to act upon the market value of the company ( for illustration, claiming less amortisation disbursal in order to increase net income for that period ) .

Net incomes direction can assist houses pass on insider information to the populace, but fiscal statement users need to understand net incomes direction in order to do good usage of direction prepared fiscal statements. A house ‘s pick of accounting policies signals to the public whatever future outlooks the house may hold. For illustration, a house altering from straight-line to duplicate worsening amortisation signals to the populace that the gaining potency of the plus lies more in its earlier old ages of usage.

There are two cardinal types of net incomes direction: seting single accounting policies and utilizing different accrual methods. In bend, these two methods can be used to either addition or diminish a house ‘s current net incomes. First, directors can set any figure of accounting policies to impact the value of a house. Common accounting policy alterations can include seting amortization disbursal or gross acknowledgment methods. Second, directors can put up different accumulations to distribute gross and expense acknowledgment over several periods. For illustration, a building company receiving gross up forepart for a 10-year undertaking can accrue gross over the period to fit disbursals. There is a bound to the benefits of net incomes direction. While responsible net incomes direction allows a house to pass on insider information to fiscal statement users, mistreating net incomes direction can cut down the long-run dependability of the fiscal statements. Net incomes direction should assist fiscal statement users understand the net incomes of the company. Directors must retrieve that net incomes direction has no hard currency flow consequence ; all accumulations will finally hold to be reversed.

2.2 Motivations for Earnings Management

There can be a strong motive for directors to play with net incomes figures since fillips are frequently based on the terminal consequence. Directors may be tempted to increase the net incomes figure since their fillips may be a direct consequence of this sum. On the other manus, a director may be willing to “ take a bath ” in a twelvemonth where net income is expected to be low since they will non make the net incomes figure required to have a fillip. Healy ( 1985 ) noted that a cap and bogy is frequently applied when fillips are determined. The bogy is the minimal net income figure required for the director to have a fillip ; the cap is the maximal net income figure for which a fillip will be paid out. Therefore, directors recognizing that they will non be able to make the targeted minimal net income figure may be tempted to “ take a bath ” . Besides, if income were well higher than the cap, the director would be willing to absorb extra losingss since the sum of their fillip will non be affected. Ultimately, directors who take losingss in the current twelvemonth to cut down net income below the cap will put the house in a better place to execute good in future old ages.

As discussed by Sweeney ( 1994 ) , directors may utilize net incomes direction when involved in contractual understandings. Many contractual understandings within the corporation bend around the debt compact hypothesis. This hypothesis implies that loaners to the corporation may include demands in the debt contracts that net income, the current ratio, the debt to equity ratio, and dividend policies must non alter or fall below a certain degree. Since the costs of go againsting a debt compact can be highly high, a director ‘s involvements lie in maintaining the corporation at a degree that does non set the contractual understanding at hazard. In order to make so, the director could utilize net incomes direction to make the semblance that the company has non violated the debt compact.

A 3rd ground for net incomes direction stems from political motives. Many industries in the economic system operate under a monopoly or an oligopoly. Firms in these industries may be tempted to utilize net incomes direction to diminish net income because net incomes that are excessively high may motivate a public call for authorities intercession in the industry. Minimizing net income allows the industries to go on operations without authorities intervention. ( Jones 1991 ) found grounds of “ income smoothing ” , particularly in old ages where houses are under authorities probe.

The 4th ground for net incomes direction is to take advantage of revenue enhancement policies. The director of a corporation may be willing to pull off net incomes to diminish net income, which will in bend lessening revenue enhancements collectible. The determination to utilize LIFO or FIFO provides US houses with the biggest chance for revenue enhancement nest eggs. Dopuch and Pincus ( 1988 ) noted that it is common for US companies to utilize LIFO alternatively of FIFO because they can describe lower net income in periods of increasing monetary values.

A 5th ground why directors may prefer to pattern net incomes direction is related to the assignment of new main executives. As discussed by DeAngelo et Al. ( 1994 ) , new CEOs may prefer to “ take a bath ” on net incomes in the first twelvemonth and fault the consequences on the former CEO. Besides, CEOs with an nearing retirement will be more willing to increase net incomes now so that their fillip will be higher at the clip of retirement.

A 6th ground for net incomes direction occurs when a house is sing an Initial Public Offering ( IPO ) . Firms will be tempted to describe higher income in the old ages predating the offering so that they will have a higher command for their IPO. ( Clarkson, Dontoh, Richardson, and Shefix 1992 ) noted that “ the market responds positively to net incomes prognosiss and this can be a step of the house ‘s value ” .

As antecedently mentioned, directors can besides take part in net incomes direction to pass on insider information to investors. This theory implies that a house ‘s accounting policies may uncover insider information to investors, in bend assisting investors evaluate the house and do utile determinations sing the house ‘s profitableness.

2.3 Positive Accounting Theory

The chief focal point within Positive accounting theory ( PAT ) is the prediction on the accounting schemes that houses apply and the effects that alterations in accounting scheme will hold on peculiar houses. The most of import focal point of positive accounting theory is that alterations have different effects for different houses. Within PAT there is the premise that companies arrange their accounting schemes in such a manner that their picks affect their concern in the most effectual and the most efficient manner while being in line with the legal demands from governmental side.

Companies can be seen as ongoing their concerns by prosecuting in several contracts with clients, providers and employees. These contracts are affecting accounting information that modify with assorted accounting schemes that are being used ; the end of the accounting schemes is to maximise the company ‘s possible and minimise the contract disbursals. The pick for different accounting schemes is assumed to ensue in timeserving behaviour. Because of the rational behaviour of directors and their willingness to function their best involvements, PAT presumes that this will go on.

The most ideal combination of accounting schemes for a company will be a trade off between accounting schemes which cut down contract disbursals and supply directors the ability to modify accounting schemes due to possible alterations in market fortunes. In contrast with normative theories, positive accounting theories do n’t order directors what they have to make.

There are three chief theories involved with PAT:

1 ) The Bonus Plan Hypothesis: Assuming ceteris paribus, directors will try to act upon accounting theories in such a manner that they can take future net incomes in progress within the current period. The basic thing in this hypothesis is that by traveling future net incomes to current period the director will take the advantage by acquiring his hereafter fillips in progress.

2 ) The Debt Covenant Hypothesis: Assuming ceteris paribus, directors are looking for net incomes use in the presence of debt compacts. This hypothesis assumes that directors selectively covering with taking a peculiar accounting method in order to increase current net incomes. By making this the hazard of go againsting debt compacts will be minimized.

3 ) The Political Cost Hypothesis: Assuming ceteris paribus, directors will try to postpone current net incomes to future periods. This income postponement will be higher if political costs ( revenue enhancements and ordinances ) are higher. Firms with higher net incomes are preferred for media and public attending, by which directors within those houses will try income postponement.