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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rapp, Marc Steffen, 2010. "Information asymmetries and the value-relevance of cash flow and accounting figures: empirical analysis and implications for managerial accounting," CEFS Working Paper Series 2010-08, Technische Universität München (TUM), Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cefswp:201008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, Technische Universität München (TUM), Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS).
    2. Robert T. Kleiman, 1999. "Some New Evidence On Eva Companies," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 12(2), pages 80-91.
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    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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, Technische Universität München (TUM), Center for Entrepreneurial and Financial Studies (CEFS).
    8. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General

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