How Scrutinizing Honest Managers Encourages Earnings Management

Research in finance and accounting consistently documents that a significant number of managers overstate reported earnings when true earnings miss a benchmark [1]. Managers face strong incentives to meet and beat important earnings thresholds, such as the analyst consensus forecast of a corporation’s next period future earnings per share (EPS), because capital markets react negatively to firms falling short of earnings expectations [2]. Hence, there is a widespread belief that managers “cook the books” in order to meet these benchmarks.

The accounting and corporate governance literature offers at least two ways to curb earnings management: carefully scrutinizing managers [3] and … Read more