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Are stewardship and valuation usefulness compatible or alternative objectives of financial accounting?

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  • Joachim Gassen

Abstract

In their joint framework project, the FASB and the IASB recently proposed dropping stewardship as a separate objective of financial accounting, because the Boards view stewardship and valuation usefulness as compatible sub-objectives ranking under an overall objective of decision usefulness. This paper puts this conjecture to an empirical test. As it is widely agreed that asymmetric timely earnings increase the contractual efficiency of accounting information, I first test whether firms with more asymmetric timely earnings produce more valuation-useful financial accounting information. Second, I test whether firms with more influential non-equity stakeholders provide more valuation-useful financial accounting information. As non-equity stakeholders in general face higher transaction costs when diversifying unsystematic risk compared to equity stakeholders and as stewardship-related risks should be at least in part unsystematic, I expect the demand for stewardship-related accounting information to increase with the influence of non-equity stakeholders. Using a broad sample of U.S. firms and a set of firm-specific metrics for valuation usefulness based on short-window capital market reactions to quarterly earnings announcements, I document that the valuation usefulness of financial accounting information is consistently negatively related to its stewardshiporientation. I conclude from these analyses that valuation usefulness and stewardship are alternative objectives of financial accounting.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2008-028.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-028

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Keywords: decision usefulness; valuation usefulness; stewardship; conservatism;

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Cited by:
  1. Murphy, Tim & O’Connell, Vincent & Ó hÓgartaigh, Ciarán, 2013. "Discourses surrounding the evolution of the IASB/FASB Conceptual Framework: What they reveal about the “living law” of accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 72-91.
  2. Ulf Br&?ggemann & J?rg-Markus Hitz & Thorsten Sellhorn, 2013. "Intended and Unintended Consequences of Mandatory IFRS Adoption: A Review of Extant Evidence and Suggestions for Future Research," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 1-37, May.
  3. Chi, Wuchun & Wang, Chenchin, 2010. "Accounting conservatism in a setting of Information Asymmetry between majority and minority shareholders," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 465-489, December.
  4. Fülbier, Rolf Uwe & Klein, Malte, 2013. "Financial accounting and reporting in Germany: A case study on German accounting tradition and experiences with the IFRS adoption," Bayreuth Working Papers on Finance, Accounting and Taxation (FAcT-Papers), University of Bayreuth, Chair of Finance and Banking 2013-01, University of Bayreuth, Chair of Finance and Banking.

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