Fundamentals of Accounting Losses
51 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2008
Date Written: June 2005
This paper examines accounting and non-accounting factors behind accounting losses over a fifty-year period. Using multivariate time-series analysis, we report evidence that the annual percentage of losses for U.S. firms is significantly related to accounting conservatism, Compustat coverage of small firms, real firm performance as measured by cash flows from operations, and business cycle factors. We further find that non-accounting factors tend to play the dominant role in explaining accounting losses over our sample period. Our results are robust to alternative definitions of macroeconomic productivity, as well as to varying model specifications. Our findings contribute to the literature on accounting losses and accounting conservatism and have implications for the use of accounting loss information in numerous settings.
Keywords: Accounting losses, accounting conservatism, business cycle, macroeconomics, cash flows from operations
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