Aktuella avhandlingar

En sammanställning som Revisionsakademin låtit göra visar att det under 2008-2009 (t.o.m. september) lagts fram 10 avhandlingar inom ämnena redovisning och revision i Sverige. Sammanställningen presenteras här i sin helhet.

 

Avhandlingar inom ämnena redovisning och revision utkomna 2008-2009

Sammanställningen har gjorts utifrån tillgänglig information i DiVA (det bibliotekssystem som används av de flesta universitet och högskolor i Sverige) och Libris (Kungliga bibliotekets databas).

 

Bilden av det Goda Företaget – Text och siffror i VD-brev

Författare: Kristina Jonäll

Organisation: Handelshögskolan vid Göteborgs universitet

Disputationsdatum: 25 september 2009

Companies’ annual reports traditionally include a Letter to Shareholders, signed by the company CEO. Well-positioned near the front of the annual report, such letters are an important element of a company’s communication to its readers. Too often, however, readers pay only cursory attention to the Letter to Shareholder, or even ignore it. Yet the Letter plays an important role in presenting the company’s version of corporate reality for it give us a better understanding of how a company perceives itself and wishes to be perceived by others.

The study examines the Letter to Shareholders for three multi-national Swedish companies, SCA, SKF and Ericsson over a three-year period. The Letters are studied closely, in connection with an analysis of the companies’ reported numbers (e.g., financial statements) using a social constructionist approach and taking a discursive perspective. A social constructionist approach means that when people speak and write, they produce and organize our reality. A discursive perspective, following discourse psychological theory, maintains that language is used in different ways, depending on the goals of the speaker or writer. In addition, the study views accounting as an institution, consisting of principles, rules and models that evolve over time.

By tracing similarities and differences in purpose, content and style, the study reveals how companies create and/or reinforce a company ¡mage in their Letter to Shareholders. The study highlights how the Letter to Shareholders is framed, using both text and numbers, in particular the extent to which text and numbers agree or disagree. In focus are the companies’ commentaries about choices among accounting principles and rules, as well as statements regarding their internal decisions and reactions to external events. The ways in which companies use the Letter to Shareholders to make themselves accountable and trustworthy to stakeholders is also of interest in this research.

The study reveals that the Letter to Shareholder, from company to company, has certain features in common but also distinct differences. One important commonality is that all the companies strive to present themselves as trustworthy and legitimate, with unique resources that can satisfy human needs and wants. Another commonality is the use of similar linguistic tools to convince the reader of certain perceptions. The main difference relates to the content of the Letters. One company In the study provides regular feedback between expectations and outcomes, another focuses on products, and a third concentrates on concerns of stakeholder groups.

The study provides an insight into how a company, through its CEO, presents its company image and uses text to convey trustworthy information.

 

Börsbolags redovisning av alternativa resultatbegrepp : en studie om hur, och varför, bolag noterade på Stockholmsbörsen redovisar Non-GAAP Measures

Författare: Mikael Scheja

Organisation: Linköpings universitet

Disputationsdatum: 12 juni 2009

Det har det blivit vanligt att alternativa resultatbegrepp, resultatmått som inte är definierade enligt GAAP, förekommer i börsnoterade företags finansiella rapportering. Sådana alternativa resultatbegrepp uttrycks ofta som Non-GAAP Measures, förkortat NGM. Tidigare forskning om NGM har i stor utsträckning bedrivits med kvantitativa metoder och undersökt hur väl redovisningen av NGM förklarar ett värde på företags aktier i jämförelse med GAAP men inte inriktats på vad upprättarnas motiv är för redovisningen. Forskning om bolagens utformning av NGM och i vilken utsträckning måtten förekommer har dessutom haft en begränsad omfattning. Syftet med avhandlingen är därför att öka kunskapen om och förståelsen av börsbolags redovisning av alternativa resultatbegrepp. Som titeln anger behandlas två forskningsfrågor: ”hur redovisar bolag på Stockholmsbörsen andra resultatbegrepp än de som definieras av GAAP (Non-GAAP Measures)?” och ”varför redovisar bolagen på Stockholmsbörsen NGM?”.

Redovisningsnormering utgår från att redovisningen ska upprättas för att ge användbarhet till användaren. Redovisningsteorier ger dock uttryck för att upprättare kan ha andra motiv. Inom Positiv redovisningsteori framförs att upprättare kan ha incitament att redovisa NGM p.g.a. kontrakt vars utfall beror av redovisningsmått. Teori om resultatutjämning anger att upprättare är opportunistiska nyttomaximerare som tror att de kan påverka användare genom redovisningens utformning. Olika förklaringar finns därför till varför upprättare kan komma att tillämpa s.k. ”earnings management”. I redovisningslitteratur avser begreppet earnings management företagsledningars avsiktliga val av redovisningsprinciper för att uppnå ett visst redovisningsresultat. Principvalen berör en post eller transaktions värdering och när, eller om, transaktionen ska redovisas. I avhandlingen förklaras att earnings management även kan tillämpas av upprättare genom att principer väljs för utformningen av redovisade resultatbegrepp.

Avhandlingen visar bl.a. att NGM förekommer i stort antal, används av de flesta upprättare och i stor utsträckning är unika för varje företag. Bolag redovisar oftast NGM för att justera ett resultat för jämförelsestörande poster och för att möjliggöra jämförelser av en enhet över tiden. Det är vanligt att bolagen i sina delårsrapporter redovisar NGM på ett mer framträdande sätt relativt GAAPmåtten. Användare behöver vara medvetna om att NGM i de flesta fall är unika för olika bolag och innehåller summeringar av olika intäkts- och kostnadsposter. Många NGM redovisas utan att det upprättande bolaget definierar resultatbegreppets innehåll och det är vanligt att en läsare av en rapport inte kan se hur ett NGM beräknats. Ett bolags redovisning av NGM förändras även över året i stor utsträckning. En svår aspekt är kompromissen mellan olika kvalitativa egenskaper i ett NGM. Ska måttet vara relevant kan det bli svårt att kombinera med jämförbarhet och tillförlitlighet. Osäkerhet beträffande vad NGM innehåller för intäkts- och kostnadsposter och förändringen av innehållet i måtten över tiden leder till att redovisade NGM är svåra att jämföra inom och mellan bolag. Men det kan också leda till ytterligare konsekvenser. Informationsasymmetri, kontraktskostnader, kostnader för allokering av kapital, risk för negativt urval och moralisk risk hos upprättare kan minska nyttan i redovisade NGM för användare.

Tidigare litteratur har fört fram två huvudsakliga motiv och förklaringar till upprättarnas redovisning av NGM: förbättrad information till användaren och earnings management p.g.a. opportunism eller kontrakt. Genom avhandlingens metod, en kombination av en genomgång av finansiella rapporter tillsammans med intervjuer med upprättare, framkommer dock slutsatsen att det också finns upprättare vilka saknar ett övergripande motiv för redovisning av NGM. De kan från tid till annan styras av olika faktorer utan något mönster av samvariation mellan faktorerna eller upprättarna. Dessutom visar det sig att en del upprättare med förbättrad information som motiv inte fullt ut klarar att redovisa NGM som tillfredställer de underliggande normativa kvalitativa egenskaperna jämförbarhet, tillförlitlighet och relevans.

 

Att spränga normer: om målstyrningsprocesser för jämställdhetsintegrering

Författare: Eva Wittbom

Organisation: Stockholms universitet

Disputationsdatum: 29 maj 2009

How do management control systems function when under pressure to mainstream gender equality into a core business? This question is being discussed with an interpretive approach from both the institutional and the gender perspective. Empirical evidence stems from two longitudinal case studies within the Swedish public sector where management by objectives (MBO) is the current model for governmental control. The analysis is based on four aspects: management by objectives, gender mainstreaming, the concept of loose coupling from organization studies and institutional change as translation.

The gender perspective highlights constructions that tend to enable or to hamper gender equality. The sociological institutional perspective sheds light over rules, norms and culture. In the empirical cases, it becomes evident that formal goals within MBO proved unable to overrule prevailing norms that have grounded a well established gendered (malestream) culture.  Control systems are designed to handle new issues; however, in the cases studied, this took place merely normatively and in line with the core business, not by changing the grounds on which the control system stands. The MBO model consequently lacks the ability to integrate gender in a transformative mode.

 

Financial accounting quality in a European transition economy : the case of the Czech Republic

Författare: Katerina Hellström

Organisation: Handelshögskolan i Stockholm

Disputationsdatum: 8 maj 2009

This dissertation documents the quality of financial accounting information in a transition economy, the Czech Republic. High quality accounting information decreases the risks for investors, promotes investment activities and increases the ability of companies to raise funds at a reasonable cost of capital. Countries with high quality accounting information have a comparative advantage in attracting financial capital. Transition economies – i.e. countries switching from centrally planned to market economies – are typically in need of capital. Therefore a new accounting regulation had to be developed that would satisfy the needs of new private investors.

The quality of financial accounting information depends on accounting quality (an outcome of applied accounting principles) and disclosure quality (an outcome of the amount and characteristics of information provided in the financial statements). Accounting quality is measured as the value relevance of accounting numbers and certain attributes of earnings which promote the value relevance. Disclosure quality is measured in terms of mandatory disclosure requirements, actual disclosures of companies (i.e. the level of compliance with legislation) and additional information provided voluntarily by the companies. Sweden is used as a benchmark for well-developed market economy and the quality of financial accounting information in the Czech Republic is systematically compared to the quality of Swedish financial accounting information throughout the dissertation.

The results show that both accounting and disclosure quality in the Czech Republic were inferior in the beginning of the transition period. Over time, the value relevance of accounting numbers has however improved. The change in the value relevance may be attributed in particular to improvements in disclosure quality. The key factors behind the development were improved accounting legislation and control mechanisms, accompanied by changes in the business climate including higher sophistication of both the producers and users of the financial information.

 

Kundorientering och ekonomistyrning i offentlig sektor

Författare: Fredrika Wiesel

Organisation: Stockholms universitet

Disputationsdatum: 14 januari 2009

It is a trend in the public sector to re-cast citizens and beneficiaries as customers or consumers of public services. While earlier research has addressed different aspects of how the implementation of customer orientation affects public sector organisations’ management control systems, this research has tended to have an overly narrow focus on performance measurement. There is also a paucity of empirically based studies in this area.

This thesis addresses how the implementation of customer orientation affects public sector organizations’ management control systems from a broader perspective. It also focuses on the leverage of economic, institutional and technical factors and the interplay between these factors for the development of lateral control in public sector organisations.

While the implementation of customer orientation in the public sector brings about demands for increased attention to lateral control aspects, management control in the public sector has traditionally been based on a vertical control model. In addition, lateral and vertical control is founded in different and conflicting institutional logics. This thesis illustrates under what circumstances the parallel presence of the two institutionally conflicting control models can cause tensions in an organisation, or lead to embeddedness of lateral control aspects in a public sector organisation’s dominant vertical management control system. It also addresses the impact of such embeddedness for the ability of public sector organisations to prioritize between different customers and customer needs.

The thesis is based on a longitudinal research project in two Swedish state agencies and consists of four embedded cases. The cases include operations covered by state grants as well as operations that generate their revenues from fee-paying customers and competitive contracting. The case study data have been collected through semi-structured interviews, observations and document studies.

 

Entreprenörer som redovisare – bokslutsprocessen i gasellföretag

Författare: Marita Blomkvist

Organisation: Handelshögskolan vid Göteborgs universitet

Disputationsdatum: 5 december 2008

Entrepreneurs seem to be highly valuable for the firms in which they are involved. However, the knowledge of the role of accounting in a context of entrepreneurship is limited. In fact, some literature on entrepreneurship indicates that the role of accounting is only about the past and therefore not of interest for entrepreneurs in the entrepreneurial process.

This dissertation reports the results of two empirical studies. The first study is a qualitative pilot study of five entrepreneurs in fast growing firms and their participation in the year-end procedure. The respondents were presented the adjustments in the final step of the recording process and the annual report in order to assess their participation and to focus on how the entrepreneurs as producers of accounting reflect and act in relation to other actors and to the process of reporting. The pilot study found that the entrepreneurs were certainly involved in use and produce of certain accounting in the year-end procedures. The second study is based on the result from the pilot study and on agency theory the study aimed to describe and explain how and why entrepreneurs in successful fast growing firms, i.e. Gazelle firms, compared with a control group of managers in not growing firms, are participating in the year-end procedures. Also, the study aimed to analyse differences between entrepreneurs ́ participation and other managers ́ participation in this process. The study focused on the activities in the year-end procedures concerned with the values of R&D, stock and work-in-progress and accounts receivables. In order to find entrepreneurs the survey was sent to a sample of 257 managers of Gazelle firms and to a sample of 227 managers in not growing firms. Also, the annual report from the firms where the respondents where involved were collected. This data was also included in the study. The responding rate was 50% from both groups. The most notable finding is, in contradiction to literature on entrepreneurship, that entrepreneurs in Gazelle firms use and produce formal financial accounting information. Entrepreneurs in Gazelle firms spend more time and they are also involved in discussions with more actors compared with managers in not growing firms. Further, the results indicate that entrepreneurs in Gazelle firms will participate to a larger extent when the profitability in the firm decreases compared to managers in not growing firms. Finally, the dissertation gives insight in the role of formal financial accounting in the context of entrepreneurship, a research area we know little about.

 

Two studies on management accounting systems and performance in Swedish firms

Författare: Mats Karén Sten Ljunggren

Organisation: Uppsala universitet

Disputationsdatum: 11 november 2008

The two studies reported in this thesis deals with two related management accounting problems with an empirical basis in Swedish firms.

In the first study we analyse the existence of measures and methods within management accounting practice in Swedish firms. We aim at a systematic description of practice. We conduct a field study with broad data collection. We search for differences in firms and their contingencies. The results of the study showed some distinctive patterns. The existence of measures and methods is widespread and at the same time limited in the single firm. Simple measures and methods are more frequent than more complicated ones. There are some connections to chosen contingency variables, but with only 15 firms. Some firms do not seem to fit into one of the patterns identified.

In the second study we analyse performance in Swedish firms. How can performance best be explained? To do this we start using two competing models, one model inspired from traditional contingency theory and one where a relation-based theory view is incorporated into a traditional contingency theory model. The two models differ in their view of variable causality: single directed in traditional contingency theory and reciprocal non recursive in the relation-based model. We analyse the explanatory power of the relation-based model in two steps, is there a reciprocal adjustment between the chosen variables and is there a positive interaction affect on performance? Then we compare the two models explanatory power of performance. From this point of departure we develop the traditional contingency theory model to a congruence fit-model and then compare this model with the relation-based model. In a concluding discussion we use a neo-contingency theory view model inspired by concepts such as quasi-fit and hetero-performance and compare to the relation-based model. An electronic survey was used in the data collection. The results showed that the relation-based-model has a greater explanatory power then models inspired by traditional contingency theory.

 

Revision och rådgivning : efterfrågan, kvalitet och oberoende

Författare: Tobias Svanström

Organisation: Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Disputationsdatum: 13 juni 2008

Auditing is common in many organizations and a legal requirement for all limited liability companies in Sweden (ABL 9:1). In directives from the government it is clearly stated that small firms will be exempted from the statutory audit requirement. In light of this forthcoming change in regulations, this thesis is used to analyze which factors are associated with a demand for auditing. Analysis in this thesis is based on a national survey including 900 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Around 2/3 of respondent’s (CEO or CFO) state that the firm will choose to have audited accounts even in the absence of such a legal requirement. Based on responses from 421 firms, logistic regression results indicated that firms purchasing advisory services from an audit firm will choose to have their accounts audited to a higher extent than those firms not receiving advisory services. This finding, not identified in prior studies, is linked to advisory services being of higher quality when the audit firm also performs audit work. The demand for auditing is further positively associated with firm size, use of a Big 4 audit firm and firms located in the county of Småland. From these findings it follows that the traditional view of auditing as merely a control mechanism needs to be complemented by consideration of aspects of the internal value of auditing.

The approaches of SME’s when engaging an audit firm for different types of advisory services is examined in this study based upon survey data. It is shown that the majority of advisory services provided are related to core competencies of an auditor such as tax, accounting and law. Logistic regression results show a positive association between firms purchasing advisory services and the length of the relationship with the provider as well as with the respondent’s perception of the audit quality. The latter association further confirms the close connection between audit and advisory services. It should be noted that when an audit firm recommends advisory services their use is significantly higher. There is also support for the demand for advisory services being positively related to firms that are corporate subsidiaries and located in Småland and Norrland, but negatively associated with the respondent’s level of education. It follows that factors related to demand for advisory services on an aggregate level could be categorized as being dependent on firm characteristics, audit firm characteristics and the relationship between the parties.

Provision of non-audit services (NAS), such as different types of advisory services, to audit clients and the potential consequences for auditor independence and audit quality have been discussed in public debates and research as well as being subject of regulation. OLS regression results show that reporting quality is higher when the audit firm provides advisory services as well as preparing accounts. These findings hold for both discretionary accruals and a respondent’s perception of reporting quality. The provision of NAS improves the reporting quality due to better knowledge of the client and its operations. From the perspective of reporting quality this finding implies that there is no necessity to further restrict the possibility for an audit firm to provide advisory services as well as preparing accounts for audit clients.

 

Management control systems in entrepreneurial organisations : a balancing challenge

Författare: Eva Lövstål

Organisation: Internationella Handelshögskolan i Jönköping

Disputationsdatum: 7 mars 2008

This thesis deals with management control systems in entrepreneurial organisations. It particularly pays attention to medium-sized growing companies, since they are argued to be in an interesting situation of overall tensional requirements. At the same time as there is a need for continued entrepreneurship, a more formalised and impersonal management is asked for. It is further suggested that the use of formal management control systems – such as budgeting and reporting systems, performance measurement systems, and project costing systems – involves an exceptional delicate issue for this group of companies and their managers.

The empirical study is based on two ‘good examples’, Soft Tel and Family Tech. Both these companies are described as medium-sized and growing. They are further defined as entrepreneurial, in the sense of being able and willing to pursue opportunities and to introduce them on the market. Several interviews were made with managers in these two companies, asking for their use of management control systems and motives for using – and not using – them. The empirical material is analysed and interpreted in accordance with a balancing framework, developed in the reference chapter. This framework is based on management conceptions found in corporate entrepreneurship literature, and consists of a number of management control tensions.

An overall conclusion from the study is that it is possible and fruitful to approach the use of management control systems as a balancing between opposing elements, e.g. between formality and informality. It helps us understand how and why management control systems are used. Regarding the companies in question, the study shows that they differ in their managers’ way of using and reasoning about management control systems in relation to planning, decision-making and organisational control. The managers also balance between somewhat different opposing elements. It is suggested that these observations can be understood if considering that the companies are different in respect of (a) their growth situation and (b) how entrepreneurship is approached and organised. The study further shows that tensions are dealt with in various ways; a variety which is reflected in the notions of a dilemma, tradeoff, duality, and a paradox. Lastly, it is suggested that there is little evidence of a special ‘entrepreneurial’ use of management control systems in the two companies.

 

On the Importance of Accounting Information for Stock Market Efficiency

Författare: Jiri Novak

Organisation: Uppsala universitet

Disputationsdatum: 8 februari 2008

This thesis contributes to the discussion on the importance of accounting information for stock market efficiency. As any analysis of market efficiency depends on the use of adequate risk proxies, the thesis first investigates the ability of commonly used risk factors to explain the cross-sectional variation of Swedish stock returns. The findings suggest that capturing risk is indeed very complicated, as neither CAPM beta nor size and book-to-market equity ratio are significantly associated with realized monthly returns. The relative bid-ask spread is found to be the strongest of all the analyzed factors; nevertheless it does not seem to be related to momentum in the manner predicted in the conceptual argument presented earlier in the paper.

Second, the thesis documents that simple accounting summary measures, such as earnings and book value of equity, can be used as benchmarks for the identification of mispriced stocks. Contrarian investment strategies (CISs) based on these simple measures earn a substantial value premium of 11-14%. In addition, we find that their effectiveness is compromised by noise that is caused by transitory earnings and accounting conservatism. Controlling for these factors increases the magnitude of the value premium and improves the consistency of the CIS. This suggests that the information reflected in key accounting measures is not fully reflected in stock prices.

Finally, this thesis shows that the structure of accounting information matters too. It documents that the transition from the Swedish GAAP to IFRS in 2005 not only changed the average goodwill charges reported by companies, but also affected valuation of goodwill-intensive companies. This suggests that investors were not able to see through the conservative treatment of goodwill prior to the adoption of IFRS and that they recognized its higher persistence only after being provided with accounting information directly highlighting it.

It is sometimes suggested that the structure of financial reporting “per se” should not be relevant to the valuation of companies, because the presentation itself does not the affect expected operating performance and because investors and analysts can “see through” and properly discount for various reporting formats. This thesis concludes that, contrary to this proposition, the structure of accounting does matter for equity valuation and that changes in representation do impact on stock prices.

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