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Volume 23-1

Assessing the Effectiveness of Financial Reporting Harmonization for Emerging Market Banks: The Case of Banco Serfin

Alejandro Hazera, University of Rhode Island, Salvador Marín Hernández, University of Murcia and Economists Educational Organization, Kevin T. Stevens, DePaul University, Eliecer Campos Cárdenas, ESPAE Graduate School of Management-ESPOL, Henry Schwarzbach, University of Rhode Island

In the last decade there has been a proliferation of financial crises in emerging markets. To some extent, the suddenness and magnitude of some of these crises have been blamed on poor financial reporting standards for bank loan losses. As a result, prior to providing countries with “financial bailout” funds, international investors and international financial organizations have increasingly required that countries harmonize their bank financial reporting standards with international financial reporting standards.

Given this trend, this case requires students to assess the effectiveness of efforts to harmonize loan financial reporting (with International Financial Reporting Standards) for Mexican banks during (and after) the country’s financial crisis of the late 1990s. Students are required to assess the extent to which both pre-crisis standards as well as new, post-crisis standards complied with international financial reporting standards. They are also required to assess the impact of the new standards on the reporting practices for loans of one particularly troubled financial institution. Through the examination of this institution’s accounting practices for loans, students obtain a familiarity of the shortcomings of emerging markets’ banks’ loan financial reporting as well as the factors which influence the adoption of international financial reporting standards by emerging market banks.


Credit Ratings and Disclosure Channels

Frank Heflin, Florida State University, Kenneth W. Shaw, University of Missouri, John J. Wild, University of Wisconsin

We study the relation between analysts’ ratings of firms’ credit worthiness and ratings of the quality of firms’ (1) annual report disclosures, (2) quarterly and other disclosures, and (3) manager-analyst communications. We find that credit ratings are better for firms with higher rated annual report disclosures. We also find that marked increases in analyst ratings of annual report quality are accompanied by improvements in credit ratings. We find no relation between credit ratings and analysts’ ratings of either quarterly report disclosures or management-analyst communications. Overall, the results suggest that a commitment to better annual report disclosure is related to a lower cost of credit capital.


The Academic Community’s Participation in Global Accounting Standard-setting

Robert K. Larson, University of Dayton, Paul J. Herz, Fort Lewis Cooege

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are now used in more than 100 countries. In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering a “Work Plan” to allow or require US corporations to use IFRS. Considering the rising importance of IFRS, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the SEC, the European Union (EU), and others have called for broader stakeholder participation in the global accounting standard-setting process. Academicians are seen as one group that has the potential to have a strong positive influence in the shaping of accounting standards.

This study investigates the academic community’s participation in the IASB’s standard-setting process through the submission of comment letters for 79 issues. For 55 IASB issues, 90 academics and academic organizations (5.8% of all respondents) provided 153 responses (2.7% of total responses). For 24 Draft Interpretations issued by the IASB’s International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC), just 17 academics and academic organizations (4.9% of respondents) provided 20 responses (1.9%).

Overall, Anglo country writers dominated, with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States together providing a majority of writers and responses. Non-Anglo EU countries provided about a quarter of the writers and responses. While academic interest increased for a few issues, usually discussion papers and substantive issues, the overall response rate remained low. Possible reasons for low participation rates are discussed, as well as some changes that may increase academic engagement with the IASB’s standard-setting process.


Does Executive Compensation Incentivize Managers to Create Effective Internal Control Systems?

Theresa F. Hentry, Seton Hall University, John J. Shon, Fordham University, Renee E. Weiss, Queens College

We examine the relation between CFO compensation and the effectiveness of internal control structures under SOX, Section 404. Given the growing evidence of an uncoupling of pay from performance, we conduct our analysis using a two-stage regression. In our first stage model, we decompose compensation into its fitted (i.e., explained by firms’ economic characteristics) and residual (i.e., unexplained) components. In our second stage model, we estimate a logit regression of internal control effectiveness on both the fitted and residual components of compensation. Overall, we find that internal control effectiveness is related to the fitted components of compensation, but unrelated to the residual components. These relations exist for aggregate compensation, as well as its individual components (i.e., salary, bonus, equity-based). Our findings suggest that fitted compensation increases the probability of effective internal controls. Conversely, residual compensation does not affect this probability, suggesting that it reflects pay without performance. Our findings inform regulators and standard setters of the often unforeseen costs of increased regulation.


Measuring Audit Quality of Local Governments in England and Wales

Gary Giroux, Texas A&M University, Rowan Jones, University of Birmingham

The purpose of this paper is to model and test the audit quality provided to local governments in England and Wales. A key question is: are there major differences in audit quality provided? The Audit Commission, a national public body under Parliament, regulates the audits. It sets audit standards, appoints the auditors, and (although each auditor and client local government set the specific audit fee for that client) it establishes a formula to determine standard audit fees. The Audit Commission also conducts an annual review of the audit quality provided by the selected auditors, as well as a survey of client satisfaction. The majority of audits are conducted by District Auditors (public sector employees of the Audit Commission). About a quarter of local governments are audited by one of six private sector auditors (including three of the Big 4). Actual results indicate that audit quality differences are associated with the number of governmental audit clients and local government type. Generally, there were modest quality differences by auditor category.


Improving Consistency in Interpreting SFAS 5 Probability Phrases

Ning Du, DePaul University, Kevin T. Stevens, DePaul University, John E. McEnroe, DePaul University

Statement of Financial Accounting Standard No. 5, Accounting for Contingencies (SFAS No. 5), relies on verbal probability phrases to guide recognition or disclosure decisions for loss contingencies. One of the challenges facing accountants is that verbal probability terms are vague and may have multiple meanings; thus, different accountants may interpret the same probability phrase differently. Given this background, our study addresses the difficulty of interpreting verbal probability phrases and explores a simple way to improve judgment quality. Evidence from our experiment suggests that supplementing verbal probabilities with their corresponding numerical values reduces interpersonal variability in interpreting SFAS No. 5 terms. 



Has the Likelihood of Appointing a CEO with an Accounting/Finance Background Changed in the Post-Sarbanes Oxley Era? 

Charles P. Cullinan, Bryant University, Pamela B. Roush, University of Central Florida

Congress passed the Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX) in July 2002 to improve the accuracy and reliability of financial reporting. The Act increased boards of directors’ responsibilities for financial reporting and control. Did it consequently increase boards’ preferences for a CEO with financial experience to protect against the potential reputational and/or legal losses that directors incur when financial scandals happen? We investigated whether newly appointed CEOs in the post-SOX period were more likely to have accounting or finance experience than in the pre-SOX period. Using a sample of 264 CEO changes from 2001 to 2004, we found that the percentage of newly-appointed CEOs with accounting/finance backgrounds significantly increased in the post-SOX period compared to the pre-SOX period. Our results suggest that the events surrounding the passage of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act may have affected the CEO background experience preferred by boards of directors.



The Effects of Audit Firm Rotation on Perceived Auditor Independence and Audit Quality

Bobbie W. Daniels, Jackson State University, Quinton Booker, Jackson State University

Our study explores loan officers’ perceptions of auditors’ independence and audit quality under three experimental audit firm rotation scenarios. We use a case experiment with a between-subjects design to determine whether rotation of the audit firm impacts financial statement users’ perceptions of auditor’s independence and quality. Findings based on 212 useable responses indicate that loan officers do perceive an increase in independence when the company follows an audit firm rotation policy. However, the length of auditor tenure within rotation fails to significantly change loan officers’ perceptions of independence. Findings also indicate that neither the presence of a rotation policy nor the length of the auditor tenure within rotation significantly influences the loan officers’ perceptions of audit quality.