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Accounting data and UK dividends

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  • Abdallah Atieh
  • Simon Hussain
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    Abstract

    Purpose – Accruals data reflect managers’ judgements and estimates. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether they provide users of accounts with additional insight into a firm's dividends beyond that conveyed by cash flows alone. Design/methodology/approach – The authors employ regression analysis to examine the relative ability of earnings, cash flows and accruals to explain dividends. Findings – It is found that both cash flows and accruals (earnings) possess significant explanatory power for dividends indicating that, on average, UK financial statements provide users with improved insight beyond that conveyed by cash flows alone. Research limitations/implications – These results demonstrate the importance of accruals data for users of accounts. However, if accruals are manipulated for opportunistic purposes then their usefulness will likely be compromised and users of accounts will loose out. The study focuses on non-financial, UK dividend-paying firms only. Practical implications – These results provide direct evidence that UK financial statement data has significant explanatory power for dividend-paying activity, which may be viewed as good news. However, this paper reiterates the need for those who prepare and audit accounts to ensure that accruals truly reflect a firm's financial situation and are not being “managed” to artificially boost reported earnings. Short-term accruals are an obvious focus for such activities. Originality/value – The paper reports the first direct test of the link between disaggregated earnings components and UK dividends.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Journal of Applied Accounting Research.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 56-70

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:jaarpp:v:13:y:2012:i:1:p:56-70

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    Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com

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    Related research

    Keywords: Accruals; Cash flows; Dividends; Earnings; Financial reporting; UK dividends; United Kingdom;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Dechow, Patricia M., 1994. "Accounting earnings and cash flows as measures of firm performance : The role of accounting accruals," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 3-42, July.
    2. Daniel, Naveen D. & Denis, David J. & Naveen, Lalitha, 2008. "Do firms manage earnings to meet dividend thresholds," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 2-26, March.
    3. Guanqun Tong & Christopher Green, 2005. "Pecking order or trade-off hypothesis? Evidence on the capital structure of Chinese companies," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(19), pages 2179-2189.
    4. Subramanyam, K. R., 1996. "The pricing of discretionary accruals," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-3), pages 249-281, October.
    5. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Stulz, Rene M., 2006. "Dividend policy and the earned/contributed capital mix: a test of the life-cycle theory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 227-254, August.
    6. Richard Barker, 1999. "The role of dividends in valuation models used by analysts and fund managers," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 195-218.
    7. Nakamura, Alice & Nakamura, Masao, 1985. "Rational Expectations and the Firm's Dividend Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 606-15, November.
    8. Fama, Eugene F, 1974. "The Empirical Relationships Between the Dividend and Investment Decisions of Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 304-18, June.
    9. Ang, James S, 1975. "Dividend Policy: Informational Content or Partial Adjustment?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(1), pages 65-70, February.
    10. Nelson, Karen K. & Barth, Mary E. & Cram, Donald, 2001. "Accruals and the Prediction of Future Cash Flows," Research Papers 1594r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    11. Baker, H. Kent & Mukherjee, Tarun K. & Powell, Gary E., 2004. "Distributing excess cash: the role of specially designated dividends," Working Papers 2004-07, University of New Orleans, Department of Economics and Finance.
    12. Ali Al-Attar & Simon Hussain, 2004. "Corporate Data and Future Cash Flows," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(7-8), pages 861-903.
    13. T. McCluskey & B. M. Burton & D. M. Power & C. D. Sinclair, 2006. "Evidence on the Irish stock market's reaction to dividend announcements," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(8), pages 617-628.
    14. Short, Helen & Zhang, Hao & Keasey, Kevin, 2002. "The link between dividend policy and institutional ownership," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 105-122, March.
    15. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
    16. Richardson, Scott A. & Sloan, Richard G. & Soliman, Mark T. & Tuna, Irem, 2005. "Accrual reliability, earnings persistence and stock prices," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 437-485, September.
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