Three Elphinstone PhD Scholarships available in Accountancy

A number of Elphinstone PhD Scholarships are available across the arts, humanities and social sciences, linked to specific, individual research projects. These Scholarships cover the entirety of tuition fees for a PhD student of any nationality commencing full-time study in October 2015, for the three-year duration of their studies.

How Do I Apply?

To apply for an Elphinstone PhD Scholarship, you should apply for a PhD via our online system stating:

  • ‘Elphinstone PhD Scholarship’ in the Intended Source of Funding section
  • The name of the lead supervisor in the Name of Proposed Supervisor section
  • The title of the specific research project in the Outline Summary section
  • Candidates should simultaneously register their desire to be considered by emailing the Graduate School Administrator, Ann Marie Johnston, at a.m.johnston@abdn.ac.uk

Deadline for submission of applications: Thursday 30th April 2015.

Eligibility for an Elphinstone Scholarship is based on academic excellence. Applicants must have the equivalent to a UK 1st class or an Upper Second (2.1) Honours undergraduate degree and/or a Masters with Commendation/Merit or Distinction.

Information for your country, including entry requirements, is available here.

 

Earnings management and KPI disclosures: substitute or complementary management strategies?

Supervisor 1: Professor Clare Roberts

Supervisor 2: Mr Naser Makarem

Accounting information plays a pivotal role in communicating the financial position and performance of entities to a wide range of users including market participants. From an agency theory point of view, this communication is subject to information asymmetry in the interest of managers, since they are actively involved in daily decisions and naturally have more information about their entities compared to outsiders, which may result in the financial information being biased, being designed to influence the decisions made by market participants. In particular, they may use voluntary disclosure to manage expectations or may manipulate reported earnings to meet the expectations of capital market. This earnings management could be through the choice of accounting techniques (accruals management) or the manipulation of real activities. 

Although earnings reported by firms in annual reports are dominantly used by outsiders to measure the performance of firms, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) also known as Key Success Indicators (KSIs) can also be used to communicate performance to users. KPIs are meant to help users understand the progress of organisations of all type toward their goals, which is mostly profit maximisation in case of a business. The information asymmetry that paves the ways for earnings management is also present for KPI disclosures. Therefore, similar to earnings, KPIs can potentially be subject to manipulation. An interesting question here is that whether firms use both earnings management and KPI manipulation to influence users or they prefer one over another and what factors affect the choice.

Earnings Management around Board Changes

Supervisor 1: Professor Clare Roberts

Supervisor 2: Mr Naser Makarem 

Accounting information plays a pivotal role in communicating the financial position and performance of entities to a wide range of users including market participants. From an agency theory point of view, this communication is subject to information asymmetry in the interest of managers, since they are actively involved in daily decisions and naturally have more information about their entities compared to outsiders, which may result in the financial information being biased, being designed to influence the decisions made by market participants. In particular, they may manipulate reported earnings, whether to better inform or to misinform the capital market. This earnings management could be through the choice of accounting techniques (accruals management) or the manipulation of real activities.

There is evidence of accruals management around CEO changes with prior studies indicating that firms manage their accruals just after CEO changes. However, there is far less evidence on whether or not, and how, CEO changes affect real earnings management. This study aims to explore both real and accounting earnings management in the period leading up to and after CEO changes, to investigate the relative importance of the two types of earnings management and the impact of CEO and corporate characteristics on earnings management.

Real Versus Accruals Earning Management in the EU: An Assessment of the Impact of Institutional Differences

Supervisor 1: Professor Clare Roberts

Supervisor 2: Mr Naser Makarem

Accounting information plays a pivotal role in communicating the financial position and performance of entities to a wide range of users including market participants. From an agency theory point of view, this communication is subject to information asymmetry in the interest of managers, since they are actively involved in daily decisions and naturally have more information about their entities compared to outsiders, which may result in the financial information being biased, being designed to influence the decisions made by market participants. In particular, they may manipulate reported earnings to meet the expectations of capital market. This earnings management could be through the choice of accounting techniques (accruals management) or the manipulation of real activities.

Whilst there has been extensive research into this in the US, there is far less evidence about such practices in the EU despite significant differences in institutional structures, institutional ownership and managerial practices between the US and the EU. This study therefore seeks to examine earnings management practices in the EU, and more specifically, to examine how earnings management practices in response to market expectations (such as avoiding losses and meeting analysts’ forecasts) are influenced by legal and regulatory structures and institutional ownership differences.

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