Timely loss recognition and termination of unprofitable projects

Anup Srivastava, Shyam Vallabha Josyula Sunder, Senyo Tse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ideally, firms should discontinue projects that become unprofitable. Managers, however, continue to operate such projects because of their limited employment horizons and empire-building motivations (Jensen, 1986; Ball, 2001). Prior studies suggest that timely loss recognition in accounting earnings enables lenders, shareholders, and boards of directors to identify unprofitable projects; thereby, enabling them to force managers to discontinue such projects before large value erosion occurs. However, this conjecture has not been tested empirically. Consistent with this notion, we find that timely loss recognition increases the likelihood of timely closures of unprofitable projects. Moreover, managers, by announcing late discontinuations of such projects, reveal their inability to select good projects and/or to contain losses, when projects turn unprofitable. Accordingly, thereafter, the fund providers and board of directors are likely to demand improved timeliness of loss recognition and stringent scrutiny of firms' capital expenditure plans. Consistently, we find that firms that announce large discontinuation losses reduce capital expenditures and improve timeliness of loss recognition in subsequent years. Our study provides evidence that timely loss reporting affects "real" economic decisions and creates economic benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-167
Number of pages21
JournalChina Journal of Accounting Research
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Fingerprint

Termination
Managers
Timeliness
Capital expenditures
Board of directors
Economics
Accounting earnings
Economic benefits
Shareholders
Closure
Erosion

Keywords

  • Accounting quality
  • Agency costs
  • Conditional conservatism
  • Corporate governance
  • Project discontinuations
  • Timely loss recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance

Cite this

Timely loss recognition and termination of unprofitable projects. / Srivastava, Anup; Sunder, Shyam Vallabha Josyula; Tse, Senyo.

In: China Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 8, No. 3, 01.09.2015, p. 147-167.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{84d9072c22eb47daa46fdb60c5cb14cc,
title = "Timely loss recognition and termination of unprofitable projects",
abstract = "Ideally, firms should discontinue projects that become unprofitable. Managers, however, continue to operate such projects because of their limited employment horizons and empire-building motivations (Jensen, 1986; Ball, 2001). Prior studies suggest that timely loss recognition in accounting earnings enables lenders, shareholders, and boards of directors to identify unprofitable projects; thereby, enabling them to force managers to discontinue such projects before large value erosion occurs. However, this conjecture has not been tested empirically. Consistent with this notion, we find that timely loss recognition increases the likelihood of timely closures of unprofitable projects. Moreover, managers, by announcing late discontinuations of such projects, reveal their inability to select good projects and/or to contain losses, when projects turn unprofitable. Accordingly, thereafter, the fund providers and board of directors are likely to demand improved timeliness of loss recognition and stringent scrutiny of firms' capital expenditure plans. Consistently, we find that firms that announce large discontinuation losses reduce capital expenditures and improve timeliness of loss recognition in subsequent years. Our study provides evidence that timely loss reporting affects {"}real{"} economic decisions and creates economic benefits.",
keywords = "Accounting quality, Agency costs, Conditional conservatism, Corporate governance, Project discontinuations, Timely loss recognition",
author = "Anup Srivastava and Sunder, {Shyam Vallabha Josyula} and Senyo Tse",
year = "2015",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.cjar.2015.05.001",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "147--167",
journal = "China Journal of Accounting Research",
issn = "1755-3091",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Timely loss recognition and termination of unprofitable projects

AU - Srivastava, Anup

AU - Sunder, Shyam Vallabha Josyula

AU - Tse, Senyo

PY - 2015/9/1

Y1 - 2015/9/1

N2 - Ideally, firms should discontinue projects that become unprofitable. Managers, however, continue to operate such projects because of their limited employment horizons and empire-building motivations (Jensen, 1986; Ball, 2001). Prior studies suggest that timely loss recognition in accounting earnings enables lenders, shareholders, and boards of directors to identify unprofitable projects; thereby, enabling them to force managers to discontinue such projects before large value erosion occurs. However, this conjecture has not been tested empirically. Consistent with this notion, we find that timely loss recognition increases the likelihood of timely closures of unprofitable projects. Moreover, managers, by announcing late discontinuations of such projects, reveal their inability to select good projects and/or to contain losses, when projects turn unprofitable. Accordingly, thereafter, the fund providers and board of directors are likely to demand improved timeliness of loss recognition and stringent scrutiny of firms' capital expenditure plans. Consistently, we find that firms that announce large discontinuation losses reduce capital expenditures and improve timeliness of loss recognition in subsequent years. Our study provides evidence that timely loss reporting affects "real" economic decisions and creates economic benefits.

AB - Ideally, firms should discontinue projects that become unprofitable. Managers, however, continue to operate such projects because of their limited employment horizons and empire-building motivations (Jensen, 1986; Ball, 2001). Prior studies suggest that timely loss recognition in accounting earnings enables lenders, shareholders, and boards of directors to identify unprofitable projects; thereby, enabling them to force managers to discontinue such projects before large value erosion occurs. However, this conjecture has not been tested empirically. Consistent with this notion, we find that timely loss recognition increases the likelihood of timely closures of unprofitable projects. Moreover, managers, by announcing late discontinuations of such projects, reveal their inability to select good projects and/or to contain losses, when projects turn unprofitable. Accordingly, thereafter, the fund providers and board of directors are likely to demand improved timeliness of loss recognition and stringent scrutiny of firms' capital expenditure plans. Consistently, we find that firms that announce large discontinuation losses reduce capital expenditures and improve timeliness of loss recognition in subsequent years. Our study provides evidence that timely loss reporting affects "real" economic decisions and creates economic benefits.

KW - Accounting quality

KW - Agency costs

KW - Conditional conservatism

KW - Corporate governance

KW - Project discontinuations

KW - Timely loss recognition

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84937976434&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84937976434&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.cjar.2015.05.001

DO - 10.1016/j.cjar.2015.05.001

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84937976434

VL - 8

SP - 147

EP - 167

JO - China Journal of Accounting Research

JF - China Journal of Accounting Research

SN - 1755-3091

IS - 3

ER -