A large body of empirical research in accounting investigates the causes and consequences of accruals quality, reaching numerous influential conclusions. Yet little work has been done to systematically evaluate the validity of the underlying measures of accruals quality. We evaluate these measures using three criteria: (i) Is the measure unaffected by the underlying economic determinants of accruals? (ii) Does the measure consistently reflect errors in accruals? and (iii) Does the measure facilitate tests with sufficient power to detect plausible variation in accrual errors? Using a combination of theoretical modeling and numerical simulations, we show that all measures fail at least one of these criteria. Our evaluation provides new interpretations of existing research and guides the choice of measures and the interpretation of results in future research.
ABSTRACT In their classic text Security Analysis, Graham and Dodd (1934) warn investors against sole reliance on a few quantitative factors in investment decisions. Instead, they recommend that investment decisions be based on a comprehensive fundamental analysis of the underlying securities. While their views held sway for many decades, recent years have witnessed a sharp reversal. Scholars of finance often overlook fundamental analysis, and their influence has led to a surge of investment products relying solely on a few quantitative factors. These products often have names that appeal to fundamental analysis, such as “value” and “quality.” I argue that Graham and Dodd's (1934) recommendations continue to have merit. I show how popular quantitative approaches to investing overlook important information and select stocks with distorted accounting numbers rather than temporary mispricing. I conclude that informative financial reporting and comprehensive fundamental analysis are essential for the efficient functioning of capital markets. Data Availability: Data are publicly available from sources indicated in the text.
ABSTRACT Prior research examining the ASC 820 fair value hierarchy concludes that Level 3 fair value measurements are significantly less value-relevant than Level 1 and Level 2 fair value measurements. We reevaluate this conclusion using the closed-end fund setting, in which fair value measurements are available for substantially all assets. Contrary to prior research, we find that Level 3 fair values are of similar value relevance to Level 1 and Level 2 fair values. Our findings suggest that the results in previous research are attributable to correlated omitted variable bias arising from the absence of fair value data for most assets. JEL Classifications: M41; G12; G29. Data Availability: Data are publicly available from sources identified in the article .
ABSTRACT We identify a setting in which firms are required to disclose discounted cash flow (DCF) estimates relating to the value of their primary assets. ASC 932 (formerly SFAS No. 69) has mandated DCF disclosures for proved oil and gas reserves since 1982, and these reserves constitute the primary assets of oil and gas royalty trusts. For a hand-collected sample of oil and gas royalty trusts, we find that (1) the mandatory DCF disclosures are incrementally value-relevant over historical cost accounting variables, (2) investors misprice royalty trust units because they underweight the disclosed DCF estimates when forecasting future distributions, and (3) media articles bringing attention to discrepancies between price and the disclosed DCF estimates are significant stock price catalysts. While our evidence indicates that mandatory DCF disclosures can be incrementally useful for security valuation, it also indicates that investors may overlook such information, potentially due to lack of attention and accounting expertise. Data Availability: Data are publicly available from sources indicated in the text.
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.