Congratulations to Erik Beardsley, whose paper, “What’s my target? Individual analyst forecasts and last-chance earnings management," co-authored with John Robinson (Texas A&M University) and Paul Wong (UC-Davis) has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Accounting and Economics. The paper is tentatively scheduled to be published in Volume 72, Number 1, August 2021. Here is the abstract:
Kirk, Reppenhagen, and Tucker (2014) find that investors use individual analyst forecasts as additional earnings benchmarks. We investigate whether executives manage earnings to beat these individual benchmarks. Using year-end effective tax rate (ETR) manipulation as our setting, we find that firms decrease ETRs from 3rd to 4th quarter to meet or beat a greater percentage of individual forecasts. We also find some evidence that firms use incremental ETR changes to meet forecasts by key analysts. After controlling for the distance to the nearest forecast, our evidence shows that firms are more likely to beat an incremental forecast with a decrease in ETR compared to missing an incremental forecast with an increase in ETR. Our study highlights the strategic nature of earnings management by providing evidence that managers consider individual forecasts to calibrate earnings management decisions.