Predicting Accounting Manipulations


Here is an interesting paper that claims accounting manipulations cluster in certain industries and in firms with certain characteristics.

We examine the characteristics of manipulating firms and analyze the ability of (i) financial statement variables; (ii) off-balance sheet and non-financial variables; and (iii) market-related variables, to explain and predict manipulations. The financial statement variables that we find useful include measures of accrual quality and firm performance. The useful off-balance sheet and non-financial variables include the existence and use of operating leases, abnormal changes in employees and order backlog. The market-related variables that are useful include book-to-market, earnings-to-price, prior annual stock price performance, and amount of new financing. Our results suggest that manipulations are most common in growth companies experiencing deteriorating operating performance.

There is a better view of the chart at the Journal of Accountancy.