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The value relevance of UK dirty surplus accounting flows

O'Hanlon, John F. and Pope, Peter (1999) The value relevance of UK dirty surplus accounting flows. British Accounting Review, 31 (4). pp. 459-482. ISSN 0890-8389

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Identification Number: 10.1006/bare.1999.0116


Misgivings about dirty surplus accounting practices derive, in part, from two related concerns. Firstly, it has been argued that dirty surplus accounting might result in value-relevant items being reported within ‘dirty surplus flows’ rather than within earnings. Secondly, it has been suggested that the low transparency of dirty surplus flows might reduce investors' ability to recognize value-relevant items in a timely fashion. In this study, we address the first of these concerns. We examine UK stock returns and accounting flows accumulated over intervals of up to 20 years. We report evidence on the value-relevance of accounting flows which were excluded from ‘ordinary profit’ (i.e. accounting profit exclusive of extraordinary items) in the UK over the period from 1972 to 1992. Our tests provide strong evidence that UK ordinary profit is value-relevant and provide some evidence, on the basis of long-interval tests, that extraordinary items are value-relevant. There is little evidence that other flows excluded from ordinary profit are value-relevant, however. These finding may allay concerns that, by allowing value-relevant flows to bypass reported earnings, dirty surplus accounting practices have promoted undesirable ‘creative accounting’ activity by UK firms.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1999 Academic Press
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2014 13:20
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 02:53

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