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Why do CFOs become involved in material accounting manipulations?

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  • Feng, Mei
  • Ge, Weili
  • Luo, Shuqing
  • Shevlin, Terry
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    Abstract

    This paper examines why CFOs become involved in material accounting manipulations. We find that while CFOs bear substantial legal costs when involved in accounting manipulations, these CFOs have similar equity incentives to the CFOs of matched non-manipulation firms. In contrast, CEOs of manipulation firms have higher equity incentives and more power than CEOs of matched firms. Taken together, our findings are consistent with the explanation that CFOs are involved in material accounting manipulations because they succumb to pressure from CEOs, rather than because they seek immediate personal financial benefit from their equity incentives. AAER content analysis reinforces this conclusion.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V87-51491B6-2/2/024ac04e35722e22f5405e70f482bc6c
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Accounting and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 51 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
    Pages: 21-36

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jaecon:v:51:y:2011:i:1-2:p:21-36

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jae

    Related research

    Keywords: Earnings quality Accounting manipulation CFO turnover CEO power Incentive compensation;

    References

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    1. Burns, Natasha & Kedia, Simi, 2006. "The impact of performance-based compensation on misreporting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 35-67, January.
    2. Daniel Bergstresser & Thomas Philippon, 2003. "CEO incentives and earnings management," Proceedings 862, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Christopher S. Armstrong & Alan D. Jagolinzer & David F. Larcker, 2010. "Chief Executive Officer Equity Incentives and Accounting Irregularities," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 225-271, 05.
    4. Renée B. Adams & Heitor Almeida & Daniel Ferreira, 2005. "Powerful CEOs and Their Impact on Corporate Performance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 1403-1432.
    5. Karpoff, Jonathan M. & Lee, D. Scott & Martin, Gerald S., 2008. "The Cost to Firms of Cooking the Books," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(03), pages 581-611, September.
    6. RAFFI INDJEJIKIAN & MICHAL MATĚJKA, 2009. "CFO Fiduciary Responsibilities and Annual Bonus Incentives," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 1061-1093, 09.
    7. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
    8. Efendi, Jap & Srivastava, Anup & Swanson, Edward P., 2007. "Why do corporate managers misstate financial statements? The role of option compensation and other factors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 667-708, September.
    9. Shane A. Johnson & Harley E. Ryan & Yisong S. Tian, 2009. "Managerial Incentives and Corporate Fraud: The Sources of Incentives�Matter," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(1), pages 115-145.
    10. Merle Erickson & Michelle Hanlon & Edward L. Maydew, 2006. "Is There a Link between Executive Equity Incentives and Accounting Fraud?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 113-143, 03.
    11. John Core, 2002. "Estimating the Value of Employee Stock Option Portfolios and Their Sensitivities to Price and Volatility," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 613-630, 06.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Larcker, David F. & Ormazabal, Gaizka & Taylor, Daniel J., 2013. "The relation between equity incentives and misreporting: The role of risk-taking incentives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 327-350.
    2. Saif Ullah & Nadia Massoud & Barry Scholnick, 2014. "The Impact of Fraudulent False Information on Equity Values," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 120(2), pages 219-235, March.
    3. Rustam, Sehrish & Rashid, Kashif & Zaman, Khalid, 2013. "The relationship between audit committees, compensation incentives and corporate audit fees in Pakistan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 697-716.
    4. Dan Dacian Cuzdriorean, 2013. "Most Recent Findings In Earnings Management Area: Interesting Insights From Traditionally Top 5 Leading Accounting Journals," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(15), pages 5.
    5. Kim, Jeong-Bon & Li, Yinghua & Zhang, Liandong, 2011. "CFOs versus CEOs: Equity incentives and crashes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 713-730, September.
    6. Yim, Andrew, 2013. "Mixture and Continuous 'Discontinuity' Hypotheses: An Earnings Management Model with Auditor-Required Adjustment," MPRA Paper 44702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Schrand, Catherine M. & Zechman, Sarah L.C., 2012. "Executive overconfidence and the slippery slope to financial misreporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 311-329.
    8. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Larcker, David F. & Ormazabal, Gaizka & Taylor, Daniel J., 2012. "The Relation between Equity Incentives and Misreporting: The Role of Risk-Taking Incentives," Research Papers 2120, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

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