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CFO: Are women CFOs less prone to financial misreporting?

20 Jul 2019
In a study of thousands of U.S. companies over 11 years, those with female CFOs were much less likely to file financial reports containing misstatements.

Originally found at CFO by David McCann

Over the years, CFO has reported on several studies concluding that women outperform men at key aspects of finance and business.

One suggested that the stock market reacts more favorably to acquisition announcements and secondary equity offerings by companies with female finance chiefs. Another documented that women-run hedge funds earn higher returns.

A third research effort found that companies with a higher representation of women in senior management roles outperform other companies.

Now comes robust new academic research showing that companies with women serving as chief financial officers are significantly less likely to misreport financial results. And it’s not just a correlation; the study results strongly support causation, according to its authors.

To be published in the August issue of the Academy of Management Journal, the paper builds upon prior studies by other researchers indicating that:

An estimated 15% of public companies engage in accounting fraud annually, but fewer than 1% are caught doing so.

Women are, on average, more risk-averse than men, among other social-psychological attributes that differ by gender.

A 138-year-old mathematical principle called Benford’s Law reliably flags the likelihood of financial misreporting (which has been known since the mid-1990s) and correlates well with several accounting measures traditionally used to identify misstatements.

Continue reading original article at CFO.


Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal

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