ABSTRACT Non-GAAP earnings provide managers the flexibility to exclude GAAP items to either produce a more informative performance measure or provide them the ability to opportunistically exclude recurring expenses from non-GAAP earnings. Prior literature examines the use of this form of disclosure at the firm level, although it is ultimately management's decision. We extend prior non-GAAP literature by examining whether the use and quality of non-GAAP earnings is influenced by CEO personality traits, namely, CEO narcissism. We find that narcissistic CEOs are more likely to exclude expenses from non-GAAP earnings and that the magnitude of exclusions is greater. We also find that those non-GAAP exclusions are more persistent and, thus, lower-quality. Our results shed light on the disclosure practice of non-GAAP earnings and show how narcissistic CEOs are more likely to take advantage of the discretion in financial reporting disclosures in order to benefit the firm and themselves.
DuPont analysis, a common form of financial statement analysis, decomposes return on net operating assets into two multiplicative components: profit margin and asset turnover. These two accounting ratios measure different constructs and, accordingly, have different properties. Prior research has found that a change in asset turnover is positively related to future changes in earnings. This paper comprehensively explores the DuPont components and contributes to the literature along three dimensions. First, the paper contributes to the financial statement analysis literature and finds that the information in this accounting signal is in fact incremental to accounting signals studied in prior research in predicting future earnings. Second, it contributes to the literature on the stock market's use of accounting information by examining immediate and future equity return responses to these components by investors. Finally, it adds to the literature on analysts' processing of accounting information by again testing immediate and delayed response of analysts through contemporaneous forecast revisions as well as future forecast errors. Consistent across both groups of market participants, the results show that the information is useful as evidenced by associations between the DuPont components and stock returns as well as analyst forecast revisions. However, I find predictable future forecast errors and future abnormal returns indicating that the information processing does not appear to be complete. Taken together, the analysis indicates that the DuPont components represent an incremental and viable form of information about the operating characteristics of a firm.
Following Sloan (1996), numerous studies document that the accrual component of earnings is less persistent than the cash flow component of earnings. Disagreement exists, however, as to the explanation for this result. One stream of literature follows Sloan's lead in arguing that this result is attributable to accounting distortions (Xie 2001; Dechow and Dichev 2002; Richardson et al. 2005). A second stream of literature argues that this result is attributable to a more general growth effect and that growth‐related factors such as diminishing returns to new investment explain the lower persistence of accruals (e.g., Fairfield et al. 2003a; Cooper et al. 2005). We provide new evidence indicating that temporary accounting distortions are a significant contributing factor to the lower persistence of the accrual component of earnings. Our evidence indicates that the lower persistence of accruals extends to accruals that are unrelated to sales growth and that extreme accruals are systematically associated with alleged cases of earnings manipulation.