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An empirical investigation of earnings restatements by Australian firms



From 1970 to 2003, we document earnings restatements for the top 500 Australian firms, examine the characteristics of restating firms, and test whether restatements are value relevant. Of the 195 earnings restatements, 49 per cent decrease prior-period earnings (negative restatements). Negative restatements are relatively larger than positive restatements. We identify three reasons for earnings restatements; namely, accounting policy changes, revision of estimates, and errors and unknown, and they comprise 49, 40 and 11 per cent of the sample, respectively. Restatement firms have higher growth opportunities and are smaller than non-restating firms from the same industry. Restatements are generally negatively associated with market and non-market value.