Financial Reporting Quality: Red Flags and Accounting Warning Signs

14135 Words May 26th, 2010 57 Pages
Financial Reporting Quality and Investment Efficiency
Rodrigo S. Verdi The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania 1303 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall Philadelphia, PA 19104 Email: rverdi@wharton.upenn.edu Phone: (215) 898-7783

Abstract
This paper studies the relation between financial reporting quality and investment efficiency on a sample of 49,543 firm-year observations between 1980 and 2003. Financial reporting quality has been posited to improve investment efficiency, but there has been little empirical evidence supporting this claim to date. Consistent with this claim, I find that proxies for financial reporting quality are negatively associated with both firm underinvestment and overinvestment. Further, financial reporting
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As described in the FASB Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 1, financial reporting should “…provide information that is useful to present and potential investors in making rational investment decisions…” (par. 34) and “…provide information to help present and potential investors in assessing the amounts, timing, and uncertainty of prospective cash receipts...” (par. 37). Further, expected cash flows is a key input to firm capital budgeting, which is particularly important in the context of this paper which studies financial reporting implications for corporate investment. I proxy for financial reporting quality using measures of accruals quality based on the idea that accruals improve the informativeness of earnings by smoothing out transitory fluctuations in cash flows (Dechow and Dichev, 2002; McNichols, 2002). The use of accruals quality relies upon the fact that accruals are estimates of future cash flows and earnings will be more representative of future cash flows when there is lower estimation error embedded in the accruals process. I study the relation between financial reporting quality and investment efficiency on a sample of 49,543 firm-year observations during the sample period of 1980 to 2003. The analysis yields three key findings. First, the proxies for financial reporting quality are negatively associated with both firm underinvestment and