Date of Award

5-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Accountancy

First Advisor

O'Donnell, Ed

Abstract

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) have proposed standards that could alter the judgments of users of financial statements. This study examines how certain regulations including revenue measurement choices made by management combined with risk disclosure as proposed by the PCAOB could interact with the propensity of the user to rely on financial information to affect how a class of private company financial statement users - seed equity investors - value a private company. Through experimental methods manipulating revenue measurement choice and risk disclosure, I find that seed equity investor value judgments of early stage companies are significantly influenced by accounting disclosures. Specifically, accounting disclosures regarding level of risk and revenue measurement that accompany financial models in the valuation process significantly alter a seed equity investor's value judgment of early stage companies. This segment of financial statement users tends to place the majority of their reliance on non-financial, subjective factors as predictors of future success of early stage companies. Further, their judgments are swayed by wholly different financial disclosures than their "Wall Street" investor counterparts in that conservative and low risk information creates large revisions in value judgment. The implication of this study is to suggest that "Main Street" investors consume financial information and their related disclosures differently than "Wall Street" investors - an inference important for standards setters to understand as they craft regulations that govern private companies.

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