The Effect of COVID-19 on the Value Relevance of European Firms’ Financial Statements
Keywords:Value relevance, Earnings per share, Book value per share, European stock exchanges, COVID-19 pandemic.
The main topic of this study was the value relevance of accounting information. It employed a sample of 1,645 companies listed on the stock exchanges of the top six European Economies (in terms of GDP) – France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom – for the period 2010-2020. The study’s analysis was based on the Ohlson model and used linear regression. The paper examines the difference between these countries in terms of value relevance. In addition, the paper examines the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak had on the value relevance of financial statements. The purpose is to examine how investors have been affected by the pandemic and the influence it has had on the importance of financial statements and specific accounting variables. Furthermore, we compare the importance of the two most significant accounting variables, earnings and book value (equity) before and after the pandemic. The results suggest that the explanatory power of financial statements is almost the same for all countries, except Germany, where it is significantly higher. The explanatory power of financial statements decreased in all countries after the start of the pandemic. Moreover, in most countries, earnings seem to have lost value relevance compared with book value due to the financial crisis.