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Cash flow management in the Chinese stock market: An empirical assessment with comparison to the U.S. Market

Abstract

This paper examines cash flow management in the Chinese market and compares it to that in the U.S. market. It adopts Burgstahler and Dichev (1997) and Degeorge et al.’s (1999) method and the best-fitted distribution model to analyze the financial data of Chinese listed firms during 1998–2005 and the forecasted cash flow per share (CPS) data for Chinese firms in the I/B/E/S database during 1993–2005. Results reveal that cash flows reports are not as reliable as people think, and managers manipulate cash flows just as they manipulate earnings.

Further analyses show that zero point, last year’s cash flow and analyst cash flow forecast are the three thresholds that influence managers’ decision when they report cash flow performance. Over 16% of the firms with small positive cash flows manipulate their cash flow. Moreover, 16.64% of the firms with small changes in cash flow and 9.81% of the firms with small surprises manipulate cash flows to reach the targets. A comparative analysis shows that cash flow management behaviors around zero and zero changes are more prevalent in the Chinese market than in the U.S. market. Cash flow management around analyst cash flow forecasts, however, is no more prevalent than that in the U.S. market.

摘要

为了研究中国股市经营现金流量管理行为, 运用Burgstahler and Dichev (1997) 、 Degeorge et al. (1999) 的方法和最佳拟合曲线模型, 通过考察 1998–2005 年间中国上市公司财务数据及 1993–2005 年间 I/B/E/S 数据库中中国上市公司的每股现金流量预测数据, 发现企业报告的经营现金流量, 像盈余一样, 受到了公司管理层的控制和操纵。 这不同于与以往“现金为王”、 “现金流量不可操纵”的观点。 由此, 提出了与“盈余管理”相对应的概念: “现金流管理”。

进一步的研究显示: 0 点, 往年的经营现金流量和分析师对现金流量的预测是中国上市公司现金流分布的三个显著的阈值点。 16.41% 的报告微正现金流量的公司是通过操纵行为来达到报告正现金流量的目的, 此外, 分别有 16.64% 和 9.81% 的报告微正变化和微正预测差异的公司同样是通过操纵行为来达到往年现金流量和分析师预测现金流量的目的。 对比分析显示, 中国A股上市公司前两个阈值点的现金流管理比美国上市公司更普遍。

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Author information

Correspondence to Ran Zhang.

Additional information

Translated and revised from Zhongguo Kuaiji Pinglun 中国会计评论 (China Accounting Review), 2007, 5(3): 381–400

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Keywords

  • cash flow management
  • earnings management
  • thresholds

关键词

  • 现金流管理
  • 盈余管理
  • 阈值