Cash Flow Reporting And Creative Accounting
Within the wide field of creative accounting, the main preoccupation of researchers surrounded earnings management. The current study comes to acknowledge that creative cash flow may distort the assessment of financial performance and should therefore, become a subject of the same interest for analysts and investors, as earnings management is. In order to reach the objective proposed, there are two hypotheses formulated, to be validated within the research: H1: Creative accounting distorts cash flow reporting within the boundaries of current regulations. H2: Real activity manipulation alters significantly the operating cash flow. The steps followed were analyzing the accounting standard related to cash flow statement, IAS 7, in order to uncover issues not taken into account, or options of allocation provided for accountants, which could lead to opportunistic choices and lack of comparability. The relevant literature was reviewed, so as to identify the opinions of accounting and finance specialists related to this subject, the results of their scientific process. The final step was a synthesis of relevant results and observations, which lead to the acceptance of the hypothesis of the research. Moreover, several techniques were identified, both related to creative accounting and to real activity manipulation, influencing mainly the figure reflecting operating cash flow, and thus the image on the potential of business continuity. Main conclusions were that the techniques applied were within the limits set by the standard: opportunistic allocation of dividends and interest collected or paid misallocation of certain activities like sale of receivables, but mainly recording non-recurring events into the operating cash flow, without separate notes of information or adjustments. Real activity manipulation should also be considered as it is even more difficult to detect, unless analysis is also performed on notes to financial reports and the figures within the profit and loss account. The contribution of the current study is providing a synthetic arrgumentation to why cash flow should be analysed in the context of creative accounting, reviewing methods and techniques that distort significantly the results of operating activity, providing basis for further study related to the impact of such practices on forecasts of cash flow and predictability of bankruptcy.
Volume (Year): 1 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
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- Fernandez, Pablo, 2006. "Cash flow is cash and is a fact. Net income is just an opinion," IESE Research Papers D/629, IESE Business School.
- Divesh S. Sharma & Errol R. Iselin, 2003. "The Relative Relevance of Cash Flow and Accrual Information for Solvency Assessments: A Multi-Method Approach," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30, pages 1115-1140.
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