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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Patel, P. C., Tsionas, M. G., & Guedes, M. J. (2022). Benford's law, small business financial reporting, and survival. Managerial and Decision Economics, 1– 15. https://doi.org/10.1002/mde.3595 which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mde.3595 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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    Embargo ends: 14/03/24

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Benford's law, small business financial reporting, and survival

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/12/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Managerial and Decision Economics
Issue number8
Volume43
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)3301-3315
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/03/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Benford's law states that in collections of numbers, the leading digit is likely to be small. Drawing on this law, which is a widely used tool in forensic accounting, we ask whether small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that violate Benford's law on the reporting of key accounting items are more likely to fail. Using a sample of 220,583 Portuguese SMEs (2010–2018), those companies violating Benford's law in reporting cash had the highest odds of failure, followed by net income, current liabilities, assets, and sales. The findings indicate that myopic strategic manipulation in financial reporting may lead to SME failure.

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Patel, P. C., Tsionas, M. G., & Guedes, M. J. (2022). Benford's law, small business financial reporting, and survival. Managerial and Decision Economics, 1– 15. https://doi.org/10.1002/mde.3595 which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mde.3595 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.