Consumption Smoothing And Income Smoothing A 2 Provide A Brief Definition Of

December 7, 2021icci0

income smoothing definition

Auditors are appointed by the Board of Directors; hence, they tend to do things in favour of the Directors, thus, leading to income smoothing and in the worst case, earnings management. Companies’ managements resort to income smoothing practices to increase their utility and for the job security. In the actual sense, the change and flexibility accounting in reporting the financial reports are not actually dishonest as any manager has the obligation and option to determine his accounting procedures. Often times Widget will buy the supplies through a contract at an established price. This allows the two companies to smooth out their earnings and removes some of the volatility in the market.

income smoothing definition

If restructuring charges or reserves set aside for disposals are created, investors and auditors should question the legitimacy of the business combination or acquisition. For example, SEC documents indicate that Cendant management intentionally overstated merger and purchase reserves, which were subsequently reversed directly into operating expenses and revenues. Enron’s stock fell from its high of $90.75 to $0.68 after the SEC began investigating Enron’s accounting practices. After the collapse in the market value of its stock, Enron was forced to seek bankruptcy protection, resulting in the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. A recent Financial Executives International report indicates that the stock market lost more than $34 billion during the three-day period during which the three most egregious cases of abusive earnings management in surfaced. Table 3 presents the regression results of CEO turnover against idiosyncratic risk.


Income smoothing using reserve accounts is accompanied and showed by the capital intensity, operating deviations, tax, size, and securities cash flow and earning variability. Various reserve accounts are mandated by the Japanese laws and generally accepted accounting principles.

income smoothing definition

By transferring some of the earnings of high earnings period to low earnings period, dividend distribution is smoothed while income is smoothed so that the overall shareholder satisfaction with company manager is improved. The market is not stable due to external factors like high pricing low demand etc. a company can face loss. The CEO of the company asks to show all the losses in the same year like unrecoverable debts, depreciation, high reserve, etc. as already the company is in a loss.

Price change models can be expected to produce more volatile income timeseries than historical cost based models. Several empirical studies in the late sixties and seventies confirmed the expectation of greater volatility [Frank, 1969; Simmons and Gray, 1969; Buckmaster, et. However, careful reading of Gordon’s 1960 article makes it clear that he believed that price change income would produce less volatile income series than historical cost. If the earnings of a company fluctuate greatly, it will be harder to forecast future earnings and analyst forecast dispersion degree will be high. Empirical tests show that analyst forecast dispersion degree has positive correlation with idiosyncratic risk , while analyst forecast dispersion degree has negative correlation with income smoothing .

—Arthur Levitt, in a speech to the NYU Center for Law and Business, 28 September 1998.Earnings management involves the manipulation of company earnings towards a pre-determined target. This target can be motivated by a preference for more stable earnings, in which case management is said to be carrying out income smoothing. Opportunistic income smoothing can in turn signal lower risk and increase a firm’s market value. Other possible motivations for earnings management include the need to maintain the levels of certain accounting ratios due to debt covenants, and the pressure to maintain increasing earnings and to beat analyst targets. The SEC has criticized earnings management as having adverse consequences for financial reporting, and for masking “the true consequences of management’s decisions”. It has called on standard-setters to make changes to accounting standards to improve financial statement transparency, and has called for increased oversight over the financial reporting process.

Besides, REM could not be deemed a violation of accounting standards or regulations . For example, a corporation might have an employee bonus plan, a deferred profit sharing plan, and a charitable giving plan that will result in expenses that total 25% of its pretax profits. In addition, a U.S. corporation might have a combined federal and state income tax rate of 40% on its incremental pretax profits. These examples will smooth income by causing huge expenses when profits are huge, and will result in little expense when profits are little. (Losses could actually result in a negative income tax expense.) In a year of low profits a corporation might eliminate jobs and postpone maintenance expenses. When profits are higher the corporation will add jobs and perform the maintenance that it had avoided. Income smoothing is the shifting of revenue and expenses among different reporting periods in order to present the false impression that a business has steady earnings.

The term refers to a wide range of good and bad practices such that it cannot be collectively termed as legal or illegal. Whiles one business organization is using strategic means and proper accounting methods for its income smoothing, another may be using dubious or unscrupulous means for hedging its income. Managers engage in income smoothing activities because they know that volatile earnings streams typically lead to lower market valuations. Many successful management teams believe that the strategic timing of investments, sales, expenditures, and financing decisions is an important and necessary strategy for managers committed to maximizing shareholder value. Companies have long used earnings management techniques to “smooth” earnings, a process that is typically rewarded in the stock market. For example, a 1994Wall Street Journal article detailed the many ways in which General Electric smoothed earnings, including the careful timing of capital gains and the use of restructuring charges and reserves. In response to the article, General Electric reportedly received calls from other corporations questioning why such common practices were “front-page” news.

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This study compares the informativeness of two income smoothing measures used extensively in accounting research. Results indicate the TZ measure strengthens the earnings association with one period ahead operating cash flows to a greater extent than the AR measure, and thus, is more informative. Basically, it appears that two sentiments prevail when it comes to Income Smoothing. In the first case, stakeholders seem to regard Income smoothing as fraud; where as in the second case, stakeholders judge such actions to be company management using their discretion.

  • Learn accounting fundamentals and how to read financial statements with CFI’s free online accounting classes.
  • The outcomes demonstrated that smoothers have an altogether higher anomalous return than non-smoothers.
  • Warshaw listed stockholder and creditor satisfaction as secondary incentives for smoothing.
  • This article is also helpful for understanding the direct influence of income smoothing upon idiosyncratic risk.
  • Regression results of CEO turnover against income smoothing and idiosyncratic risk.
  • During economic turbulence, companies are under pressure that makes them turn to account department in attempt to control the frustrations by changing the financial information to their desired level.

This lesson focuses on horizontal analysis, which is used to compare financial balances over time. Following this lesson, you’ll be able to explain how to use the analysis for a balance sheet, income statement, and retained earnings statement. What is the relationship between the financial statements and accrual accounting?

This model appears to have been the inspiration for the series of empirical studies that began to appear in 1966. The sample comprises 61 non-financial companies listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange for the years 2004–2011. The authors use discretionary accruals as a proxy for artificial income smoothing and income/loss from asset sales as a proxy for real income smoothing.

Consumption Smoothing And Income Smoothing A 2

It is an unusual expectation of the regulations to expand the management positions for income smoothing. The rules on the reserved accounts are lost and depend on the managerial decisions and their flexibility in finding reserves for a given period hence are prone to smoothing. The use of the financial information in stock exchange for each firm in the sample in every year have variables which include the net sales NS, earnings E, average share price P and divided D. Income smoothing is an umbrella term for the various techniques and methods used by accountants and financial experts for controlling or hedging the effects of high rises and sharp falls in corporate income. As is commonly used, income smoothing is often associated with clever manipulations of income or profit, creative accounting techniques and the application of generally accepted accounting principles. Using reserves to appropriately match earnings with associated costs is a fundamental accrual accounting concept.

Accrual accounting provides a means for managers to manipulate earnings; abnormal accruals and income smoothing may be used for managers’ private gains. Investors should be aware of the abrupt and significant downside equity risk of opportunistic smoothing and of the role that institutional owners and analysts play in reducing these negative effects. The authors retained earnings find evidence of adverse downside consequences of earnings smoothing, indicating that managers’ opportunistic motivations are more prevalent than their desire to signal private information and resulting in economically significant stock price deterioration. The negative impact is reduced when analysts and institutional owners effectively monitor firms.

income smoothing definition

The term income smoothing is more likely associated with the manipulation of earnings, creative accounting and the aggressive interpretation and application of generally accepted accounting principles. Perhaps a company will increase its allowance for doubtful accounts with a significant charge to bad debts expense in the years with high profits. Then in years of low profits, the company will reduce the allowance income smoothing definition for doubtful accounts. Perhaps a U.S. manufacturer using LIFO will deliberately reduce its inventory quantities in low profit years in order to liquidate the old LIFO layers containing low unit costs. Other manufacturers might increase production when sales and profits are low in order to have lower unit costs. Investors and auditors should carefully review the circumstances surrounding acquisitions.


By overhauling the distribution of return on equity of listed companies, Sun Zheng and Wang Yuetang found that earnings management of listed companies mainly reflects in allotment phenomenon, meager profit phenomenon and significant loss phenomenon. Xue Shuang found through empirical test on samples of A-share listed companies suffering loss between 1995 and 2000 that earnings management prevails among the loss-making companies in various industries. Wei Tao studied the behavior that Chinese listed companies used non-recurring profit or loss to manage earnings and found that both loss-making companies and profit-making companies depend on non-recurring profit or loss at the time of earnings management. In terms of motivation of earnings management, loss-making companies mainly want to stop loss and avoid loss or something like that, while profit-making companies want to smooth profit and avoid profit decrease. Yuan Chunyun found through empirical research on the samples of listed companies between 2002 and 2004 that all outgoing executives improve short term earnings by enlarging non-recurring profit or loss. Earnings management may involve exploiting opportunities to make accounting decisions that change the earnings figure reported on the financial statements.

The Impact Of Income Smoothing On Tax Profit: An Applied Study To A Sample Of International Companies

Each citizen in the United States is provided with the incentive to save for the future. He says that the two pillars of the individual retirement system are not to be included in taxation system and the income smoothing.

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This reaction is an abbreviated version of his 1960 argument and he uses the newly published ARS No. 1 and 3 to restate his position. The section exists as a lead into the two more important elements of his article. Regression results of CEO turnover against income smoothing and idiosyncratic risk. See how the two are connected in this article discussing the quality of income. Restructuring CostsRestructuring Cost is the one-time expense incurred by the company in the process of reorganizing its business operations.

Therefore, company managers have motivation to hide the earnings when company performance is good to respond to the situation that future performance is bad in order to prolong their term of office. The economic modeling and empirical analysis made by Bushman show that on the premise that performance is controlled, the rise of idiosyncratic risk increases the probability that CEO will be dismissed.

The above said studies give indirect evidences that income smoothing has negative correlation with idiosyncratic risk. In that article, idiosyncratic risk was used to measure the content of information at company level in stock price. This indirectly indicates that the degree of earnings management has negative correlation with idiosyncratic risk. Rajgopal and Venkatachalam believed that the rise of idiosyncratic risk can partially attribute to the deterioration of earning quality. They also empirically tested idiosyncratic risk and analyst forecast dispersion degree and found that idiosyncratic risk has positive correlation with analyst forecast dispersion degree. Markarian et al. believed that analyst forecast dispersion degree has negative correlation with income smoothing so that idiosyncratic risk should have negative correlation with income smoothing. Through empirical tests, it is found that income smoothing has adverse influence upon idiosyncratic risk.

Examples of income smoothing techniques are; deferring business revenues during a positive year if the next year is predicted to be a tough one, choosing to recognize the expenses of a turbulent year in the next year if the next year promises to be more positive etc. Investors seeking a stable return from their investments, such as through dividends or interest payments, like to invest in companies with stable income.

The Healy model is used to calculate the estimation of discretionary accruals that are used in earnings management. The purpose of earnings management cannot always be wrong; there can be some good reasons also. Generally, it is bad as it is done for the purpose of Personal gain from such activity as earning commission from obtaining a contract from a false report or increasing the stock value it the market by showing the company is highly profitable.

Widget even sends payment a month in advance on what it foresees demand to be that month. This payment requires that Wawadoo record deferred revenue on its books until it provides the supplies that Widget company needs.

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