Exploring the Accrual Landscape by Open Science
In an influential study, Bushman, Lerman, and Zhang (2016) document that the cash flow accrual association diminishes over time in the U.S. They identify non-timing related accruals as the main determinant of this trend. I reproduce, explore and extend their findings, both within the U.S. and internationally, to provide three contributions to the literature. First, I document how multicollinearity affects the reliability of their findings. Second, by exploring U.S. data as well as an international panel sample, I show that changes in the underlying cash flow distribution explain a large part of the observed variation in the cash flow accrual association. The remaining time-trend is relatively robust across countries. It is confined to the nineties and associated with changes in the number of listed firms as well as with the relative share of intangible intensive industries. All these observations seem largely at odds with accounting standards driving the changes in the cash flow accrual association. Third, by providing an interactive presentation of my key results online (click here to ExPanD) and by disclosing all of my material together with an Appendix detailing the necessary steps to reproduce my work, I hope to promote the benefits of open science to accounting research.