An empirical examination of income smoothing intentions in extractive industry firms
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International standard setters appear to base their arguments for and against the full cost and successful efforts methods of accounting for exploration and evaluation costs on the income smoothing characteristics of these methods (IASC, 2000). In addition, respondents will react in significantly different ways to the standard setters’ suggested treatment of items of expenditure based on the potential that treatment has for income management under the income smoothing hypothesis. Previous studies also hypothesise that certain firm characteristics are consistent with the existence of specific contexts likely to induce management intent to smooth income. This paper explores some of these characteristics for firms responding to an extractive industries issues paper and examines whether these features predicated their comments or lobbying direction. It discovers significant relationships between a measure for lobbying intensity and the existence of both high debt-equity ratios and ownership change activities. The results may be indicative of intent to smooth income or prevent forfeiture of income management strategies and should be of interest to the International Accounting Standards Board, the international oil industry and academics and users of oil and gas companies’ accounts.