Lost in standardization: Effects of financial statement database discrepancies on inference

Kai Du, Steven Huddart, Xin Daniel Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


SEC-mandated, machine-readable structured filings are an alternative source to Compustat for companies' accounting data. Discrepancies between as-filed and Compustat data, potentially a result of Compustat's standardizations, are more pronounced for firms with complex financial reporting. We show that these data discrepancies affect inferences in four research settings: (i) properties of accrual accounting, including accruals-cash flow relationships and abnormal accruals; (ii) real earnings management; (iii) the existence and magnitude of six of 21 accounting-based anomalies examined, including the accruals anomaly; and (iv) disclosure quality assessments based on the hierarchical structure of financial statement items. FactSet data also exhibit significant and often larger discrepancies from as-filed data. Our findings demonstrate the importance of these data discrepancies for the interpretation of empirical tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101573
JournalJournal of Accounting and Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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