How frequently should listed companies report results?
Research in Accounting Regulation,
October (4th Quarter/Autumn)
:On August 17, 2018, President Trump announced that he had asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to study whether U.S. listed companies should file interim financial statements at half-year intervals instead of on a quarterly basis. This essay examines the question underlying the President’s concern: how frequently should public companies file interim statements? A review of accounting standards, regulations, and research reveals that there is (i) no agreed-upon best practice for reporting frequency, (ii) compelling evidence that analyst earnings estimates arising from interim reporting give rise to executive angst, and (iii) some evidence that lengthening reporting intervals will harm investors. The short-term implication of this essay is that readers of this journal should participate in SEC deliberation on this issue. The long-term implication is that we need to encourage accounting scholars from various disciplines to try to answer the President’s question.