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Non-GAAP and Street Earnings: Evidence from SFAS 123R

Author

Listed:
  • Barth, Mary E.

    (Stanford University)

  • Gow, Ian D.

    (Northwestern University)

  • Taylor, Daniel J.

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

This study examines how key market participants-managers and analysts-responded to SFAS 1 23R's controversial requirement that firms recognize stock-based compensation expense. Despite mandated recognition of the expense, some firms' managers exclude it from non-GAAP earnings and some firms' analysts exclude it from Street earnings. We find evidence consistent with managers opportunistically excluding the expense to increase earnings, smooth earnings, and meet earnings benchmarks, but no evidence that such exclusion results in an earnings measure that better predicts future firm performance. In contrast, we find that analysts exclude the expense from earnings forecasts when the exclusion increases earnings' predictive ability for future performance, but opportunism generally does not incrementally explain exclusions by analysts. Thus, we find that opportunism explains exclusion of the expense from non-GAAP earnings and predictive ability explains exclusion from Street earnings. Our findings suggest the controversy surrounding the recognition of stock-based compensation expense may be attributable to cross-sectional variation in the relevance of the expense for equity valuation, as well as to differing incentives of market participants.

Suggested Citation

  • Barth, Mary E. & Gow, Ian D. & Taylor, Daniel J., 2010. "Non-GAAP and Street Earnings: Evidence from SFAS 123R," Research Papers 2064, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:2064
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    File URL: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/library/RP2064&88.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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