In this paper, we examine the relationship between (1) information technology-related internal control material weaknesses (ITMWs) as reported by public companies between 2004 and 2012, and (2) earnings management. Prior research suggests that companies with internal control deficiencies are more likely to manage earnings; however, no study has specifically examined the incremental effect of ITMWs on earnings management tendencies. Based on a sample of 268 firm-years of ITMWs disclosed by U.S. public companies in their annual SEC filings (pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002), we find a significant positive association between ITMWs and income-increasing abnormal accruals. In addition, we find a positive relation between poor financial condition and material weaknesses in these companies. These results are robust with respect to two control samples of firms with non-IT-related-only material weaknesses (non-ITMWs) and firms with no material weakness disclosures. Implications of these findings for investors, regulators, and future research are discussed.

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