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Volume 24-1

Accounting for Initial Franchise Fee Revenue: When a Journal Article in 1970 Constituted GAAP in the Eyes of the SEC

Stephen A. Zeff, Rice University

This article reports on an instance in 1969/70 when the leaders of the accounting profession orchestrated the drafting and publication of an article in the Journal of Accountancy, which was understood as having the force of an APB Opinion.

 

 

Barriers to Entry to the Big Firm Audit Market: Evidence from Market Reaction to Switches to Second Tier Audit Firms in the Post-SOX Period

Charles P. Cullinan, Bryant University, Hui Du, University of Houston,  Xiaochuan Zheng, Bryant University

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied concentration in the audit market and found that the Big 4 firms continue to dominate the market for clients with revenue of more than $500 million while non-Big 4 firms have gained market share among clients with revenue of $500 million or less (GAO, 2008). The US Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession has expressed concern about barriers to entry that might prevent a non-Big 4 firm from increasing its market share among large publicly-traded clients (Advisory Committee, 2008). One of these barriers may be the potential cost to shareholders if the stock market reacts negatively to the appointment of a non-Big 4 auditor (GAO, 2003). We examine whether the stock market reacts negatively when clients switch from a Big 4 to a non-Big 4, because a negative reaction might make such switching less likely to occur. We find that the market does not react more negatively when clients move from a Big 4 to a Second Tier auditing firm than when clients move from a Big 4 to another Big 4 firm. Our results suggest that a negative market reaction may not represent a significant barrier to entry among Second Tier auditing firms.

 

 

The Origins of Modern Accounting in Brazil: Influences Leading to the Adoption of IFRS

Lúcia Lima Rodrigues, University of Minho, Paulo Schmidt, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, José Luiz dos Santos, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Despite the increasing importance of Brazil, there has been little documentation of how accounting developed and about the significant formative influences involved. This paper explores the significant influences on Brazilian accounting and the path to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Several important influences are emphasized: the equity theory of the Italian school of accounting in the early 20th century; the birth of the Brazilian accounting profession in 1931 and the certified accountants association in 1946; the impact of US trade and American accounting in the 1950s; and the high rates of inflation that occurred from the beginning of the 1960s. Modern Brazilian accounting had its beginning in the 1970s with the development of the stock market, the reforms of the financial system, and the decrease of tax influences on accounting. The globalization process and the need for Brazilian accounting to converge with international accounting led to the decision to adopt IFRS in 2007.

 

 

Disclosure versus Recognition: Evidence from Lobbying Behavior in Response to SFAS No. 158

Abraham N. Fried, Seton Hall University

This study examines the lobbying behavior of firms following the release of the SFAS No. 158 exposure draft. SFAS No. 158 requires the recognition of previously disclosed net pension and postretirement benefit obligations on the balance sheet. The study documents that firms that lobbied against the pronouncement had large, underfunded plans and the decision to lobby was related to the magnitude of the SFAS No. 158 balance sheet adjustment. The findings have important implications for the recognition versus disclosure debate because they document management’s reaction to the relocation of information disclosed in the financial statement footnotes to its recognition on the balance sheet.

 

 

Lease Transaction Structuring, Earnings Management, and Management Credibility

Susan D. Krische, American University, Paula R. Sanders, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Steven D. Smith, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Despite recent regulatory concerns regarding off-balance sheet financing, and concerns about lease accounting in particular, relatively little is known about how financial statement users view lease transaction structuring compared to other forms of earnings management. We examine sell-side financial statement analysts’ views on lease transaction structuring and its impact on their assessments of management credibility. Although operating leases often act as the prototypical example of transaction structuring, survey responses suggest that lease structuring and related voluntary reconciliations do not raise the same concerns for analysts as do other earnings management activities (which lower analysts’ perceptions of management credibility). Our findings are consistent with prior research demonstrating that, with precise accounting standards, managers are more likely to attempt earnings management by structuring transactions, but auditors are also less likely to adjust such attempts, and suggest that financial statement users may also be less concerned with transaction structuring than with other forms of earnings management.

 


Auditors and the Post-2002 Litigation Environment

Ross D. Fuerman, Suffolk University

In the wake of the disclosure of Enron and WorldCom and other dramatic financial reporting frauds, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act was passed on July 30, 2002. Thus, 2002 was a watershed year for auditors. Audits performed after the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley began to be reflected in litigation filed in 2003. Analysis of 1169 lawsuits filed between 2001 and 2008 finds that auditor litigation severity decreased in the lawsuits filed after 2002. Analysis of a reduced sample of 1017 lawsuits – where dollar resolution amounts are available – shows that the magnitude of auditor dollar resolution amounts decreased in the lawsuits filed after 2002. Thus, auditor liability risk decreased after 2002.

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