Earnings management and its relationship with corporate governance mechanisms in Jordanian industrial firms
2016-03-14T09:35:48Z (GMT) by
This thesis investigates the association between corporate governance mechanisms and earnings management in industrial Jordanian firms. We identify the most important corporate governance mechanisms that have an effect on accounting choices and operating decisions, investigate the tools that managers use to decrease or increase earnings in Jordanian industrial firms, and finally, determine which accruals model is more powerful to detect earnings management in Jordanian industrial companies. Historically, corporate governance mechanisms are considered to be the most important factors in assessing and monitoring the effectiveness of financial reporting (Brown, Pottb and Wömpenerb, 2014), and may be considered to be a cornerstone of control in general. Internal and external corporate governance is established by senior managers to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations and reduce the incidence of error or manipulation in accounting systems (Lee, 2006). Earnings management is considered one of the most important issues related to financial reporting, particularly after the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Earnings management behaviours are also related to low levels of corporate social responsibility and improvements in both areas would be expected to lead to improvements in the quality of corporate governance. Mixed methodology is used in this research including both quantitative and qualitative analyses. The quantitative analysis used accruals models the Standard Jones model (Jones 1991), modified Jones model (Dechow, Sloan and Sweeney, 1995), and the Peasnell, Pope and Young margin model (2000) as measures of earnings management and used these variables in conjunction with corporate governance factors. Annual financial reports that were published by the Amman stock market over the period 2005 to 2012 were used to extract the data for corporate governance characteristics of the firms. The qualitative analysis involved semi-structured interviews, conducted with general managers, financial managers and internal audit managers to provide in-depth information about corporate governance issues that we could not investigate easily through quantitative methods and to provide understanding of the context for the firm s earnings management. The qualitative analysis identified a range of motivations for earnings management in Jordanian firms including attempts to reduce customs fees; tax avoidance; the desire to attract more investors and increase share price, and the desire to increase management compensation. We find also that the Peasnell, Pope and Young margin model (2000) is a more powerful model for explaining earnings management in Jordan than the more commonly used accruals models. Quantitative results indicate that the ownership structure of the business plays a more significant role in constraining earnings management than characteristics relating to the board of directors or the characteristics of the audit process. Furthermore, the interviews also explored in depth a number of cultural factors and external economic factors, which were found to be related to the incidence of earnings management. Relevant cultural factors include particularly the tribal system that operates in Jordan, which creates pressures on firms likely to increase earnings management and external economic factors include the recent Middle East revolutions and adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards. The findings could be useful to investors, senior managers in Jordanian industrial firms, and legislators in Jordan, in relation to decisions about how to enhance the quality of monitoring mechanisms and constrain the incidence of earnings management. Our methodology and evaluation of standard accruals models in this context may also prove useful to other researchers on earnings management in developing economies.