SYNOPSIS

This paper explores Securities and Exchange Commission comment letters that address firms' use of non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) measures in 10-Ks, 10-Qs, and earnings releases. We investigate the determinants of firms' receiving non-GAAP comments and the revisions to non-GAAP reporting undertaken by these recipients. Firms that experience poor GAAP performance and emphasize non-GAAP measures are more likely to receive non-GAAP comments. Recipients of non-GAAP comments are more likely than other reviewed firms to abandon non-GAAP measures in future filings. When recipients of non-GAAP comments continue to report non-GAAP measures, they provide more justifications for the use and reduce the prominence of these measures. However, higher non-GAAP earnings and GAAP earnings differentials do not appear to attract non-GAAP comments. In addition, the amount of non-GAAP exclusions does not decrease after the receipt of non-GAAP comments. Overall, our findings suggest that non-GAAP comments are effective in deemphasizing non-GAAP measures.

JEL Classifications: M41, M48.

You do not currently have access to this content.