Börsbolags redovisning av alternativa resultatbegrepp : En studie om hur, och varför, bolag noterade på Stockholmsbörsen redovisar Non-GAAP Measures
Sammanfattning: It has become common for listed companies to present earnings measures undefined by GAAP. These measures are commonly referred to as Non-GAAP Measures, or in short: NGM. Prior NGM research has to a large extent been undertaken with quantitative methods in order to compare the relevance of NGM with GAAP as explanations for company value, but has not been directed towards prepares’ motives for the presentation of NGM. Research about companies’ presentation of NGM and to what extent such measures are presented has been limited. The purpose of the dissertation is therefore to increase the knowledge and understanding of listed corporations’ presentations of Non-GAAP Measures. As is implied by the title two research questions are addressed: “How do companies listed on the Stockholm stock exchange present other earnings measures than those defined by GAAP (Non-GAAP Measures)?” and “Why do companies on the Stockholm stock exchange present NGM?”.According to accounting standardization accounting information should be presented to provide usefulness to users. However, accounting theories expresses that preparers may have other motives. Positive Accounting Theory suggests that prepares may have incentives to present NGM because accounting measures effect the outcome in contracts. Smoothing theory states that preparers are opportunistic and strive to maximize personal benefits, they believe they can influence users through the accounting presentation. Thus, there are different explanations as to why preparers may use earnings management. In accounting literature the term earnings management means that management deliberately chooses accounting principles in order to achieve a certain earnings number. The chosen principles affect the measurement and recognition of an accounting item. In the dissertation earnings management is explained to also comprise when preparers choose principles for the presentation of an earnings measure.Findings in the dissertation are, among other things, that NGM can be found in large numbers, are presented by most preparers and are to a great extent unique for each company. Companies mostly report NGM to adjust earnings for items affecting comparability and to enable comparison of an entity over time. It is common for companies in their interim reports to present NGM prominent relative to GAAP earnings. Users need to be aware of the uniqueness of a company’s NGM and that NGM with similar names can contain summarizations of different income and expense items. Many NGM are presented unaccompanied by a definition from the preparer and it is common for a user of a report to be unable to see how a NGM has been computed. A company’s presentation of NGM is also often changed during the year. A difficult issue is the trade-off between different qualitative characteristics in a NGM. If a measure should be relevant it may be hard to combine with comparability and reliability. Uncertainty regarding what items of income and expense NGM contains and the change of the composition of the measures over time results in NGM that are hard to compare within and between companies. But it can also result in additional consequences. Information asymmetry, contractual costs, costs in the allocation of capital, risks of adverse selection and moral hazard with preparers can decrease the benefit of presented NGM for users.Prior literature has put forth two principal motives and explanations for preparers’ presentation of NGM: improved information to the user and earnings management due to either opportunism or contracts. The method used in the dissertation, a combination of an analysis of financial reports and interviews with preparers, has resulted in the conclusion that there are also preparers who do not have an overall motive for the presentation of NGM. They are from time to time influenced by different factors without any pattern of co variation between either the factors or the preparers. Furthermore some preparers who have the motive of improved information cannot fully master to present NGM that satisfies the underlying normative qualitative characteristics of comparability, reliability and relevance.
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