The Presentation Arrangements of Pro Forma Earnings Disclosures: Managerial Incentives and Market Responses

Guannan Wang


This study examines whether the presentation of pro forma earnings disclosures within earnings announcements reflects managerial incentives, as well as the impact of these presentation decisions on equity market pricing of earnings.  Using hand-collected data, I measure “presentation” along two dimensions: emphasis of pro forma earnings within the earnings announcement, and the display format of earnings.  Consistent with expectations, I document three empirical regularities.  First, these presentation decisions appear to reflect managerial opportunism, such as the desire to beat benchmark earnings.  Second, these decisions affect the market reaction to disclosed earnings.  Finally, implementation of Regulation G, which mandated improved reconciliation of pro forma earnings to GAAP earnings, reduces both opportunistic presentation as well as the influence of presentation arrangements over investors’ decision making.  Overall, the results suggest that presentation of pro forma earnings also reflects managerial incentives and market pricing, and that regulatory efforts to mitigate these effects have been successful.

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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