This research examines whether the characteristics of top management teams are related to financial statement comparability. Considering the foreign experienced CEOs (FCEOs) in Chinese listed firms from 2005 to 2018, we show that it can increase financial statement comparability. We argue that firms led by FCEOs will enhance information environment and governance mechanisms by minimizing agency issues, consequently generating more comparable financial statements. Through further investigation, we find that the relationship between FCEOs and comparability is stronger when CEOs possess a financial and accounting background and when they have overseas professional experiences. fthe relationship is weaker with the existence of higher economic policy uncertainty. Finally, we identify financial reporting as an important channel that explains the relationship between FCEOs and comparability. Findings remain consistent after numerous robustness checks and supplementary investigations comprising lag of independent variables, generalized method of moment, instrumental variable approach, propensity score matching, and alternative comparability measures. Overall, the findings suggest that CEOs’ foreign experiences are associated with corporate outcomes.
Top management team (TMT) characteristics, especially of CEOs, substantially influence corporate decisions (Lai and Liu 2018; Zhang 2018). Despite scholarly recognition of CEOs’ traits, such as expertise, tenure, personality traits, duality, education, and gender, CEO foreign experiences are a few of the factors currently gaining research interest. This stream of literature claims that foreign experienced CEOs1 (FCEOs) have a possible influenfgce on corporate decisions, such as compensation (Conyon et al. 2019), undertaking foreign IPOs (Duan, Hou, and Rees 2020), performance (Duan and Hou 2017), and corporate investment (Dai, Kong, and Liu 2018). However, one of the important issues that has not received scholarly attention is financial statement comparability (comparability, hereafter). Accordingly, the current study contributes to the literature by investigating how FCEOs affect comparability
Comparability is a crucial element in financial reporting (International Accounting Standard Board 2010). Users of financial statements benefit from it given its role to facilitate understanding of accounting information and thus in coming up with informed decisions. Studies (e.g., De Franco, Kothari, and Verdi 2011; Zhang 2018) suggests that comparability enhances information quality while reducing acquisition and processing costs. Comparability can correspondingly diminish information asymmetry, which leads to higher innovation efficiency (Chircop et al. 2020); more efficient resource allocation (Kim et al. 2020); higher stock price information quality (Choi et al. 2019); greater accounting information’s relevance (Kim, Kim, and Musa 2018); lower cost of capital (Imhof, Seavey, and Smith 2017); and higher analyst coverage and forecast accuracy and lower forecast dispersion (De Franco, Kothari, and Verdi 2011). Despite extensive scholarly attention to the antecedents of comparability, research has scarcely focused on its determinants (Dhole et al. 2015; Francis, Pinnuck, and Watanabe 2014; Imhof, Seavey, and Watanabe 2018). We add to this line of research by studying how TMT characteristics (CEOs’ foreign experiences) explain comparability.
This study investigates whether FCEOs and their accounting and financial expertise are associated with comparability. It utilizes a sample of Chinese listed firms from 2005 to 2018 and found evidence that FCEOs significantly increase comparability. Notably, this this influence is more pronounced for CEOs with accounting and financial backgrounds. These conclusions remain valid after addressing endogeneity issues. Our additional analyses also suggest the following: the effect of FCEOs on comparability is stronger when CEOs have overseas employment experiences but weaker in the presence of higher EPU. Finally, we identify financial reporting quality as a channel explaining the nexus between FCEOs and comparability
This research provides new evidence confirming the importance and influence of CEOs’ foreign experiences on comparability. It underscores the significance of foreign experiences as integral in the acquisition of human and social capital. It also adds to the increasing body of knowledge regarding the economic implications of CEOs’ foreign experiences. Our findings are useful to firms that wish to attract foreign talents by recognizing the prospect of FCEOs to minimize agency problems and offer potential external resources. For policymakers, acknowledging that FCEOs can effectively help improve comparability might inspire them to allocate potential resources to crafting policies that attract foreign expertise. Overall, the results offer important implications for policymakers and regulators with regard to the role of FCEOs