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Information asymmetries and the value-relevance of cash flow and accounting figures: empirical analysis and implications for managerial accounting

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  • Rapp, Marc Steffen
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    Abstract

    While some of the modern performance measures used in managerial accounting rely on cash flow based figures others try to take advantage of the information content of accounting figures. However, whether the additional information content in the accrual components of earnings improves the internal performance measurement is an open empirical question. To shed light on this question, I examine the correlation between operating cash flows and earnings with firm's total shareholder returns. Using fixed firm effects regression methods for a large sample of German listed firms covering some 5,000 firm years, the analysis shows that generally operating cash flow and earnings are both positively correlated with total shareholder return. However, with increasing information asymmetry earnings become less correlated with the firm's stock market performance and operating cash flows dominate earnings in explaining total shareholder return (and vice versa). These results suggest that, the information content of accounting figures is only relevant in settings characterized by low information asymmetries and, thus, there is no one-size-fits-all performance measure for managerial accounting purposes. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS), Technische Universität München in its series CEFS Working Paper Series with number 2010-08.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cefswp:201008

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    Related research

    Keywords: accounting figures; performance measures; total shareholder return; managerial accounting;

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    1. Harley E. Ryan & Emery A. Trahan, 2007. "Corporate Financial Control Mechanisms and Firm Performance: The Case of Value-Based Management Systems," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1-2), pages 111-138.
    2. 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.
    3. Robert T. Kleiman, 1999. "Some New Evidence On Eva Companies," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 12(2), pages 80-91.
    4. Günther, Nina & Gegenfurtner, Bernhard & Kaserer, Christoph & Achleitner, Ann-Kristin, 2009. "International financial reporting standards and earnings Quality: the myth of voluntary vs. mandatory adoption," CEFS Working Paper Series 2009-09, Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS), Technische Universität München.
    5. Gegenfurtner, Bernhard & Ampenberger, Markus & Kaserer, Christoph, 2009. "The impact of managerial ownership, monitoring and accounting standard choice on accrual mispricing," CEFS Working Paper Series 2009-02, Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS), Technische Universität München.
    6. Sanford J. Grossman & Oliver D. Hart, 1980. "Takeover Bids, the Free-Rider Problem, and the Theory of the Corporation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 42-64, Spring.
    7. Biddle, Gary C. & Bowen, Robert M. & Wallace, James S., 1997. "Does EVA(R) beat earnings? Evidence on associations with stock returns and firm values," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 301-336, December.
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