School of Accountancy Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



We investigate whether firms limit the volume of financial items in annual reports (including the financial statements and footnotes) to obfuscate poor future firm performance, and how investors react to this reduced volume. We estimate abnormal volume to capture managers’ discretion over reporting in the 10-K and find that abnormally low volume predicts poor future earnings. This relation is more pronounced in firms where the market has difficulty in detecting managerial intervention in the disclosure process. We also find that abnormally low volume predicts negative future returns, suggesting that managers benefit from disclosing fewer financial items by delaying the incorporation of bad news into stock prices. Further corroborating our results, we find that the volume is abnormally low when there exist strong managerial incentives to withhold bad news and manipulate investor perceptions upward. Overall, our evidence is consistent with the notion that managers attempt to obfuscate poor future performance and inflate current stock prices by disclosing fewer financial items in the 10-K.


Original published version available at

Publication Title

Journal of Accounting, Auditing & Finance



Included in

Accounting Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.