Management Forecasts in Japan: Do Managers Accurately Estimate Costs When They Issue Management Forecasts?

Management Forecasts in Japan: Do Managers Accurately Estimate Costs When They Issue Management Forecasts?

Kenji Yasukata 

Kinki University
August 19, 2013
AAA 2014 Management Accounting Section (MAS) Meeting Paper

Virtually all firms listed on Japanese stock exchanges report point forecasts of sales and earnings in their annual press releases. The availability of management forecasts in Japan provides a unique research opportunity to investigate managers’ prediction of cost behavior of their company. Forecasted costs are available by subtracting forecasted earnings from forecasted sales. Using recent “sticky cost” research methods, the forecasted rate of change in costs can be compared with the actual rate of change in costs. Specifically, I describe the forecasted rate of change in costs as a function of the forecasted rate of change in sales, and comparing the forecasted rate of change in costs with the actual rate of change in costs. The rationale for this approach is, in theory, that costs are resources sacrificed to generate sales; hence, it is generally expected that costs increase (decrease) as sales increase (decrease). Basically, focusing on the relationship between forecasted sales and costs provide deeper insights into management earnings forecasts than focusing on the forecasted earnings because earnings are the aggregated measure of sales and costs. The major findings of this paper are that managers underestimate the rate of increase in costs when sales are expected to increase; however, they tend to overestimate the rate of decrease in costs when sales are expected to decrease, indicating that costs are underestimated regardless of the forecasted direction of change in sales. These findings imply that optimistic bias in management earnings forecasts can partly be attributed to the forecast error of rate of change in costs.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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