Disclosure strategies among S&P 500 firms

evidence on the disclosure of non-GAAP financial measures and financial statements in earnings press releases

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27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines the prominence of non-GAAP financial measures in press releases, testing whether managers emphasize these adjusted performance measures relative to GAAP numbers in four different settings where their disclosure helps managers reach strategic earnings benchmarks on a pro forma basis when they would otherwise fall short using GAAP numbers. Moreover, this research investigates the information content of disclosures reconciling non-GAAP to GAAP earnings (and other financial statements). The data is hand collected from quarterly earnings press releases of a sample of S&P 500 firms during the 2001-2003 period. In this particular sample, the disclosure of non-GAAP financial measures is frequent. The results suggest that managers strategically give more prominence to non-GAAP measures than to GAAP figures when the GAAP earnings number falls short of a benchmark but the non-GAAP earnings number does not. This disclosure strategy may influence the perception of the firm's financial results. Furthermore, the results suggest that both the reconciliation and the non-GAAP income statement contain information useful for users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Accounting Review
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010

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Financial statements
Press releases
Financial measures
Disclosure
Managers
Information content
Performance measures
Testing
Income
Earnings benchmarks
Influence strategies
Reconciliation
Financial result
Benchmark

Keywords

  • Non-GAAP financial measures
  • Pro forma financial measures
  • Reconciliation
  • Strategic benchmarks

Cite this

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title = "Disclosure strategies among S&P 500 firms: evidence on the disclosure of non-GAAP financial measures and financial statements in earnings press releases",
abstract = "This paper examines the prominence of non-GAAP financial measures in press releases, testing whether managers emphasize these adjusted performance measures relative to GAAP numbers in four different settings where their disclosure helps managers reach strategic earnings benchmarks on a pro forma basis when they would otherwise fall short using GAAP numbers. Moreover, this research investigates the information content of disclosures reconciling non-GAAP to GAAP earnings (and other financial statements). The data is hand collected from quarterly earnings press releases of a sample of S&P 500 firms during the 2001-2003 period. In this particular sample, the disclosure of non-GAAP financial measures is frequent. The results suggest that managers strategically give more prominence to non-GAAP measures than to GAAP figures when the GAAP earnings number falls short of a benchmark but the non-GAAP earnings number does not. This disclosure strategy may influence the perception of the firm's financial results. Furthermore, the results suggest that both the reconciliation and the non-GAAP income statement contain information useful for users.",
keywords = "Non-GAAP financial measures, Pro forma financial measures, Reconciliation, Strategic benchmarks",
author = "Ana Marques",
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