Using a sample of Chinese A-share listed firms from 2000 to 2015, we investigate the association between a firm's use of earnings management strategies and the characteristics of its top management team. Our findings suggest that several demographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, educational level, and financial work experience) of the entire team, as well as of the CEO/CFO and other team members separately, are significantly associated with both accrual-based and real-activities-based earnings management; these, in turn, may affect the quality of the firm's financial reporting. Our results are consistent with the predictions of the upper echelons theory and have implications for various stakeholders in corporate financial reporting, as well as providing insights to those responsible for selecting and developing upper-level executives.
JEL Classifications: M40; M41.
Data Availability: The data used in this paper are derived from public sources.