SYNOPSIS:

We provide a comprehensive review of academic research related to direct method cash flow presentation. While many financial statement users have stated a preference for the direct method, few accounting standard setters around the world have required it and, given a choice, most entities present operating cash flows using the indirect method. Our review indicates that academic research has generally found direct method cash flow information to be decision useful. Also, research finds that direct method information is reflected in stock prices indicating that users appear to utilize this information when available. However, there are, as of yet, no studies detailing how this information makes its way into stock prices. Finally, the evidence we review suggests that direct method information is economically significant and that the recurring benefits that many firms derive from providing direct method information likely exceed recurring costs. Our review should be of interest to academics researching cash flow reporting and also to policy makers as they continue debating the merits of the direct method presentation of operating cash flows.

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