Gross profit manipulation through classification shifting
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The existing research on classification shifting has examined the manipulation of core earnings through shifting of core expenses to special items keeping the GAAP earnings constant. We examine the manipulation of gross profits through shifting of costs of goods sold to operating expenses keeping core earnings constant. We find that managers, on average, misclassify costs of goods sold as operating expenses in order to just meet prior period's gross margin. We also find that managers shift costs of goods sold to both selling, general and administrative expenses and research and development expenses. However, they are more likely to shift costs of goods sold to the latter.
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