Purpose: Prior literature investigating the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) finds that managerial incentives, capital market institutions and accounting standards interact to endogenously determine accounting outcomes. In this paper, we investigate the impact of changing from local GAAP to IFRS in 2012 on earnings management by public firms in Mexico. Given the institutional environment and managerial incentives in Mexico, there is not a clear theoretical prediction for the impact of Mexico's adoption of IFRS on earnings management. Thus, it is an empirical question whether a change in accounting standards had any effect on earnings management. Design/methodology/approach: We use three measures of earnings smoothing and one measure of upwards earnings management. Logistic regression analysis along with t-tests across two time periods, pre-IFRS (2009–2011) and post-IFRS (2013–2015) are used to determine if there is a significant change in the earnings management of Mexican firms, and if this change is different for companies cross-listed in the US and companies listed only in the Bolsa. Findings: We hypothesize and find that adopting IFRS is associated with lower earnings management via earnings smoothing in Mexico, and the reduction is greater for firms cross-listed in the United States. Our results support the contention that strong institutions and enforcement aid in the implementation of new accounting standards. Originality/value: First, we contribute to the literature on the adoption of IFRS around the world. The consensus in the literature is that the impact of IFRS on financial reporting is country-specific. To our knowledge, we are the first to conduct such research on Mexico. Second, our findings indicate that IFRS adoption is associated with a reduction in earnings management through income smoothing by firms in Mexico. This contributes to a small but growing body of literature documenting consequences of improvements in Mexican capital markets. Results of research in this area provide important insights to capital market participants and regulators in Mexico.
- Earnings management