We address the fact that accounting academics often have very different perceptions of earnings management than do practitioners and regulators. Practitioners and regulators often see earnings management as pervasive and problematic—and in need of immediate remedial action. Academics are more sanguine, unwilling to believe that earnings management is actively practiced by most firms or that the earnings management that does exist should necessarily concern investors. We explore the reasons for these different perceptions, and argue that each of these groups may benefit from some rethinking of their views about earnings management.

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