The quality of street cash flow from operations

Nerissa Brown, Theodore E. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We provide empirical evidence on the quality of street cash flow from operations (CFO) as an alternative financial performance summary measure. We focus our investigation on the quality of the items analysts exclude in their determination of street CFO. Based on a sample of 8,518 firm-year observations over the 1993-2008 period, we find that the street CFO number is generally higher than the GAAP CFO number, indicating that analysts typically make CFO-increasing exclusions. Our inspection of hand-collected analyst reports reveals that, while some analysts make sophisticated exclusions of transitory cash items, many others ignore working capital and other accruals when adjusting forecasted earnings to arrive at their street CFO forecasts. We find that street CFO exclusions are negatively associated with future operating earnings, suggesting that these exclusions are not fully transitory or unimportant in forecasting future performance. Our results also indicate that street CFO exclusions are less transitory than the implicit accrual component of analysts' street earnings exclusions. These results suggest that the average quality of analysts' street CFO exclusions is quite low and that it is even lower than the quality of their implied accrual exclusions. Moreover, we find that investors perceive analysts' CFO exclusions to be of such low quality to render street CFO measures less informative than GAAP CFO figures. Finally, we find that analyst conflicts of interest and (to some extent) the greater inherent volatility of firms' CFO series contribute to the low-quality nature of analysts' street CFO exclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-954
Number of pages42
JournalReview of Accounting Studies
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Cash flow
Exclusion
Analysts
Street earnings
Conflict of interest
Investors
Empirical evidence
Inspection
Accruals
Working capital
Performance measures
Financial performance
Cash

Keywords

  • Cash flow exclusions
  • Security analysts
  • Street cash flow from operations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)

Cite this

The quality of street cash flow from operations. / Brown, Nerissa; Christensen, Theodore E.

In: Review of Accounting Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, 06.2014, p. 913-954.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Brown, Nerissa ; Christensen, Theodore E. / The quality of street cash flow from operations. In: Review of Accounting Studies. 2014 ; Vol. 19, No. 2. pp. 913-954.
@article{7a20f306c21e4f85b491ce72f5f9a400,
title = "The quality of street cash flow from operations",
abstract = "We provide empirical evidence on the quality of street cash flow from operations (CFO) as an alternative financial performance summary measure. We focus our investigation on the quality of the items analysts exclude in their determination of street CFO. Based on a sample of 8,518 firm-year observations over the 1993-2008 period, we find that the street CFO number is generally higher than the GAAP CFO number, indicating that analysts typically make CFO-increasing exclusions. Our inspection of hand-collected analyst reports reveals that, while some analysts make sophisticated exclusions of transitory cash items, many others ignore working capital and other accruals when adjusting forecasted earnings to arrive at their street CFO forecasts. We find that street CFO exclusions are negatively associated with future operating earnings, suggesting that these exclusions are not fully transitory or unimportant in forecasting future performance. Our results also indicate that street CFO exclusions are less transitory than the implicit accrual component of analysts' street earnings exclusions. These results suggest that the average quality of analysts' street CFO exclusions is quite low and that it is even lower than the quality of their implied accrual exclusions. Moreover, we find that investors perceive analysts' CFO exclusions to be of such low quality to render street CFO measures less informative than GAAP CFO figures. Finally, we find that analyst conflicts of interest and (to some extent) the greater inherent volatility of firms' CFO series contribute to the low-quality nature of analysts' street CFO exclusions.",
keywords = "Cash flow exclusions, Security analysts, Street cash flow from operations",
author = "Nerissa Brown and Christensen, {Theodore E.}",
year = "2014",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1007/s11142-014-9276-9",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "19",
pages = "913--954",
journal = "Review of Accounting Studies",
issn = "1380-6653",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The quality of street cash flow from operations

AU - Brown, Nerissa

AU - Christensen, Theodore E.

PY - 2014/6

Y1 - 2014/6

N2 - We provide empirical evidence on the quality of street cash flow from operations (CFO) as an alternative financial performance summary measure. We focus our investigation on the quality of the items analysts exclude in their determination of street CFO. Based on a sample of 8,518 firm-year observations over the 1993-2008 period, we find that the street CFO number is generally higher than the GAAP CFO number, indicating that analysts typically make CFO-increasing exclusions. Our inspection of hand-collected analyst reports reveals that, while some analysts make sophisticated exclusions of transitory cash items, many others ignore working capital and other accruals when adjusting forecasted earnings to arrive at their street CFO forecasts. We find that street CFO exclusions are negatively associated with future operating earnings, suggesting that these exclusions are not fully transitory or unimportant in forecasting future performance. Our results also indicate that street CFO exclusions are less transitory than the implicit accrual component of analysts' street earnings exclusions. These results suggest that the average quality of analysts' street CFO exclusions is quite low and that it is even lower than the quality of their implied accrual exclusions. Moreover, we find that investors perceive analysts' CFO exclusions to be of such low quality to render street CFO measures less informative than GAAP CFO figures. Finally, we find that analyst conflicts of interest and (to some extent) the greater inherent volatility of firms' CFO series contribute to the low-quality nature of analysts' street CFO exclusions.

AB - We provide empirical evidence on the quality of street cash flow from operations (CFO) as an alternative financial performance summary measure. We focus our investigation on the quality of the items analysts exclude in their determination of street CFO. Based on a sample of 8,518 firm-year observations over the 1993-2008 period, we find that the street CFO number is generally higher than the GAAP CFO number, indicating that analysts typically make CFO-increasing exclusions. Our inspection of hand-collected analyst reports reveals that, while some analysts make sophisticated exclusions of transitory cash items, many others ignore working capital and other accruals when adjusting forecasted earnings to arrive at their street CFO forecasts. We find that street CFO exclusions are negatively associated with future operating earnings, suggesting that these exclusions are not fully transitory or unimportant in forecasting future performance. Our results also indicate that street CFO exclusions are less transitory than the implicit accrual component of analysts' street earnings exclusions. These results suggest that the average quality of analysts' street CFO exclusions is quite low and that it is even lower than the quality of their implied accrual exclusions. Moreover, we find that investors perceive analysts' CFO exclusions to be of such low quality to render street CFO measures less informative than GAAP CFO figures. Finally, we find that analyst conflicts of interest and (to some extent) the greater inherent volatility of firms' CFO series contribute to the low-quality nature of analysts' street CFO exclusions.

KW - Cash flow exclusions

KW - Security analysts

KW - Street cash flow from operations

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84900816186&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84900816186&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11142-014-9276-9

DO - 10.1007/s11142-014-9276-9

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84900816186

VL - 19

SP - 913

EP - 954

JO - Review of Accounting Studies

JF - Review of Accounting Studies

SN - 1380-6653

IS - 2

ER -