This paper investigates the effect of CFO gender on corporate financial reporting decision making. Focusing on firms that experience changes of CFO from male to female, the paper compares the firms' degree of accounting conservatism between pre- and post-transition periods. We find that female CFOs are more conservative in their financial reporting. In addition, we find that the relation between CFO gender and conservatism varies with the level of various firm risks, including litigation risk, default risk, systematic risk, and CFO-specific risk such as job security risk. We further find that the risk aversion of female CFOs is associated with less equity-based compensation, lower firm risk, a higher tangibility level, and a lower dividend payout level. Overall, the study provides strong support for the notion that female CFOs are more risk averse than male CFOs, which leads female CFOs to adopt more conservative financial reporting policies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics