Earnings Management Practices in Sales and Strategic Accounts Survey Report

Michael Ahearne, Jeffrey Patrick Boichuk, Craig Chapman, Thomas J. Steenburgh

Research output: Working paper


We conduct a comprehensive survey to determine how specific actions requested of senior sales executives to manage earnings vary based on companies’ characteristics and environmental conditions. Results show that senior sales executives are more likely to be asked to manage expenses over revenues and that the specific types of actions requested systematically vary depending on public ownership, geographic location, cash flow incentives, and the balance of power between finance and sales. These actions result in increased conflict between finance and sales. Also, senior sales executives anticipate interference from finance toward the end of the fiscal year and preemptively change their behaviors to mitigate the impact. This finding suggests that managerial requests to engage in real earnings management actions are at risk of being undermined by senior sales executives, who oversee companies’ interactions with customers.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherSocial Science Research Network (SSRN)
Number of pages44
StatePublished - 2013


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