Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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early filing, financial statements, determinants, arl
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The objective of this study is to identify the determinants of early filers (firms that file before their filing deadline) and to ascertain whether their accounting quality differs from that of timely filers. In 2005, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) accelerated the filing deadlines affecting fiscal year 2006 and onward. An analysis of audit opinions of Form 10-K from years 2007 to 2019 shows that the Audit Reporting Lag, or ARL (the number of days between the fiscal year end and auditor signature date), is 12 days or more ahead of the deadlines in approximately 40% of the firm-years. The first essay documents the determinants of early filing and examines how the determinants differ from factors that affect ARL as documented in prior studies. Findings in my empirical analyses show that not all ARL determinants have the same impact on early filing. In my second essay, I investigate the accounting quality of early filers by utilizing two widely used measures: propensity to restatements and abnormal accruals. I document that the propensity to restate financial statements of early filers is significantly lower than that of the on-time filers. My other measure, abnormal accruals, indicates no statistical difference between early and on-time filers. Since the likelihood of restatements is a stronger inverse measure of accounting quality, the evidence reported in this study suggests that early filing can be a signal of better financial reporting quality. Moreover, timeliness is considered a qualitative or enhancing attribute of financial information; it is a desirable outcome for a firm to file early as long as it can guarantee that the financial statements are free of error. One can reasonably assume that auditors will not sign their audit reports early unless they are comfortable with their audited numbers. Although many prior studies have investigated ARL, those have focused mainly on late filers. To the best of my knowledge, this study is the first to investigate early filers and their accounting quality.
Hernandez, Claudia, "Determinants and Consequences of Early Filing of Financial Statements" (2021). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4614.
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