The Role of Accruals in Asymmetrically Timely Gain and Loss Recognition

The Role of Accruals in Asymmetrically Timely Gain and Loss Recognition ABSTRACT We investigate the role of accrual accounting in the asymmetrically timely recognition (incorporation in reported earnings) of gains and losses. Timely recognition requires accruals when it precedes complete realization of the gains and losses in cash. We show that nonlinear accruals models incorporating the asymmetry in gain and loss recognition (timelier loss recognition, or conditional conservatism) offer a substantial specification improvement, explaining substantially more variation in accruals than equivalent linear specifications. Conversely, conventional linear accruals models, by omitting the loss recognition asymmetry, exhibit substantial attenuation bias and offer a comparatively poor specification of the accounting accrual process. Linear specifications also understate the ability of current earnings to predict future cash flows. These findings have implications for our understanding of accrual accounting and conservatism, as well as for researchers estimating discretionary accruals, earnings management, and earnings quality. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Accounting Research Wiley

The Role of Accruals in Asymmetrically Timely Gain and Loss Recognition

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0021-8456
eISSN
1475-679X
DOI
10.1111/j.1475-679X.2006.00198.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT We investigate the role of accrual accounting in the asymmetrically timely recognition (incorporation in reported earnings) of gains and losses. Timely recognition requires accruals when it precedes complete realization of the gains and losses in cash. We show that nonlinear accruals models incorporating the asymmetry in gain and loss recognition (timelier loss recognition, or conditional conservatism) offer a substantial specification improvement, explaining substantially more variation in accruals than equivalent linear specifications. Conversely, conventional linear accruals models, by omitting the loss recognition asymmetry, exhibit substantial attenuation bias and offer a comparatively poor specification of the accounting accrual process. Linear specifications also understate the ability of current earnings to predict future cash flows. These findings have implications for our understanding of accrual accounting and conservatism, as well as for researchers estimating discretionary accruals, earnings management, and earnings quality.

Journal

Journal of Accounting ResearchWiley

Published: May 1, 2006

References

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