Proposed Title of Workshop:

Benford's Law and Financial Misinformation in the corporate and non-profit world

Organizer:

Department of Economics, King's Business School, King's College London

Keywords:

  • Benford's Law
  • Financial misreporting
  • Non-profit
  • Finance
  • Detecting

Workshop Chair:

Prof. Canh Thien Dang

Personal Bio:

I am a Lecturer in Economics at the Department of Economics, King's Business School, King's College London. I am also an academic supervisor at the Institute of Finance and Technology, University College of London, and a chief examiner for the University of London International Programme (Econometrics). Before joining King's, I lectured and conducted research at the London School of Economics as an LSE Fellow in Economics, and at the University of Warwick as a postdoctoral fellow (in Economics). I completed my PhD in Economics at the University of Nottingham in 2018.

Workshop Committee Members:

TBC

Date:

June 30, 2023

Venue:

Bush House, Strand Campus, King's College London, 30 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BG

Description:

Background and Goal

Background

Misrepresenting financial information has become a serious concern in the non-profit sector in developed countries. The disconnection between the funders and the end beneficiaries has given non-profits ample opportunities and incentives to manipulate their financial reports to mislead potential donors, rating agencies, and the public about their efficiency in accomplishing philanthropic missions. There are several approaches to measuring misreporting in financial data. These measures have inherent drawbacks, such as, correlations with the underlying characteristics of the organization and/or manager (see Amiram et al., 2015), or the confounding effects of scaling, sample selection and research designs (see Gilliam et al., 2015 for the discontinuity approach). They are also only feasible when detailed records or forward-looking information such as expected incomes or cashflows are available.

Goal

Measuring financial misinformation posits a challenging task for methodological and data constraints. This workshop aims to discuss the use of Benford's Law as a cost effective and efficient way to measure financial misreporting in the non-profit and finance literature. The workshop will invite researchers working in the UK who have used the method in their research. We aim to create a forum to discuss the recent developments in using statistical properties of numerical distribution to identify inaccuracy in financial data. Applications in the non-profit and finance literature, with a focus on climate management and finance. I hope to create an opportunity together with colleagues to promote and further study the applicability of the method in finance and management accounting.

Scope and Information for participants

Any papers related to the use of distributional properties to identify financial or information misreporting are welcome. The workshop focuses on Benford's Law and its use in statistics, economics, finance, and business management. Contributors should have innovative applications of the law in economic and financial data, or any new methodological development regarding the law's test procedure. Priorities will be given to topics related to earning managements, CEO compensations, organizations with green commitments, non-profit/non-governmental organizations, and statistical development.

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