FAIR VALUE ACCOUNTING AND EARNING MANAGEMENT: THE IMPACT OF UNOBSERVABLE INPUTS ON EARNING QUALITY. EVIDENCE FROM THE US

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Marco Pompili ORCID logo, Marco Tutino

DOI:10.22495/cocv16i2art1

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Abstract

Accounting standard boards (IASB and FASB) are aimed at designing high-quality standards able to increase transparency and comparability of financial reporting. They have chosen fair value accounting (FVA) approach to improve the quality of financial reporting and at the same time help financial reporting users in the decision-making process. During recent years, an intense debate has arisen about the trade-off between relevance and reliability of accounting information using this approach. Many authors outline problems related to the fair value hierarchy valuation of financial instruments, in particular, the discretionary use of unobservable inputs in financial instruments valuation process in support of earnings management. Tutino and Pompili (2018) have identified a general negative correlation between the extent of FVA and earning quality. Stating this, the main objective of the paper, using the same approach of the previous one, is to identify the specific impacts of unobservable inputs on earning quality. Theory and previous literature suggest a major negative impact of unobservable inputs than observable ones on the quality of information provided within financial reporting. Results show a negative and strong relationship between FVA and earning quality for US banks that do not depend on the hierarchy of input used in the evaluation process. These results suggest new considerations on the reliability of fair value concerning the possibilities of manipulation given to the management with this approach.

Keywords: Fair Value Accounting, Fair Value Hierarchy, Earning Management, Earning Quality, Banking

JEL Classification: G14, G23, G32, M41, N2

Received: 19.10.2018

Accepted: 03.12.2018

Published online: 30.01.2019

How to cite this paper: Pompili, M., & Tutino, M. (2019). Fair value accounting and earning management: The impact of unobservable inputs on earning quality. Evidence from the US. Corporate Ownership & Control, 16(2), 8-18. http://doi.org/10.22495/cocv16i2art1