Do note disclosures influence value-relevance more after the loss of financial statement placement flexibility? Evidence from ASU 2011-05
Dr. Matthew Cedergren
Assistant Professor in Accounting
Leavey School of Business
Santa Clara University
We examine whether financial statement note disclosures play an enhanced role in value relevance when investors lose the ability to learn via financial statement placement flexibility. Specifically, we consider the setting of ASU 2011-05, which removed the option for firms to report other comprehensive income (OCI) in the statement of changes in stockholders’ equity. We report two main findings. First, using a larger sample and longer time period than early studies examining ASU 2011-05, we document that, relative to firms that were unaffected by the OCI reporting mandate, firms that changed OCI placement away from the statement of changes in stockholders’ equity exhibited greater increases in OCI value relevance after ASU 2011-05 became effective, in line with the FASB’s stated goal of raising the prominence of items reported in OCI. Our findings contradict the seemingly puzzling findings of early studies, which documented an incremental decrease in OCI value relevance for these firms. Second, we find that this incremental positive effect for firms that changed OCI placement is enhanced when OCI-related note disclosures are more specific, contain more numerical information, are more readable, are more stable from year to year, and are shorter in length. Collectively, our findings suggest that financial statement placement and note disclosure characteristics interact in a manner such that when investors lose their ability to evaluate reported numbers via financial statement placement, note disclosures become a relatively more important vehicle in the determination of value relevance.