Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal (Print ISSN: 1096-3685; Online ISSN: 1528-2635)

Abstract

Managing Earnings Using Classification Shifting: Novel Evidence from Jordan

Author(s): Lara Al-Haddad, Ali Gerged, Zaid Saidat

In response to McVay calls for more research to provide additional cross-sectional tests of classification shifting, the current paper examines whether Jordanian public companies engage in earnings management through classification shifting. Using a sample consisting of 112 public firm from Jordan during the 2010-2014 period, this study applies McVay (2006) Model to investigate the relationship between the non-recurring items (NREC) and the variation in unexpected core earnings (UCE). This analysis was supplemented with employing Fan et al., (2010) Model as a robustness check. Our empirical results reveal that managers in Jordan misclassify their recurring expenses to inflate their core earnings. More precisely, we find that non-recurring items (NREC) are significantly and positively associated with the variation in unexpected core earnings (UCE), thus, classification shifting is a common practice among Jordanian firms. Additionally, we find out stronger evidence on classification shifting when our sample was restricted to those firms with a more significant opportunity to misclassify recurring items (firms with positive NREC). This study contributes to the body of accounting literature by providing the first empirical evidence in the Middle East region overall on the use of classification shifting by Jordanian firms. We are also the first to apply McVay (2006) and Fan et al., (2010) models in the Middle East region. Our findings have important policy implications for standard setters, regulators, auditors and investors in their attempts to constrain earnings management practices and improve the financial reporting quality in Jordan.