Accrual-based earnings management; Corporate cash holdings; Real activities management; Vietnam
Earnings management practices can exacerbate information asymmetry between stakeholders such as creditors, suppliers and investors and the focal firm. However, different types of earnings management can lead to diverse consequences due to their different associations with information asymmetry and agency cost. In this study, we investigate the relationship between accrual-based earnings management (AEM), real activities management (RAM) and corporate cash holdings. The research findings suggest that real activities management has a positive impact on cash holdings, while accruals-based earnings management, has a negative impact on this measure. Our findings are robust to different measures of AEM, RAM and model specifications. The positive link between RAM and cash holdings implies that significant diminutions in discretionary production costs and selling expenses permit managers to mask the genuine performance of the firm, thus increasing information asymmetry. On the other hand, the inverse relationship between AEM and cash holdings may prove that accruals can be helpful in alleviating the information differentials between the firm and other stakeholders. Based on the research findings, we provide several implications for relevant stakeholders regarding the link between earnings management and cash holdings.