Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamadan, Iran

2 Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics, Department of Accounting, Bu Ali Sina University

3 Department of Accounting, Payame Noor University, PO BOX 19395-3697,Tehran,IRAN


The accounting information quality and its relationship with financing decision-making is one of the important issues that attract interest from researchers. However, the way accounting information quality affects financing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic is a topic that has not been explored in domestic research. The purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of the accounting information quality on the cost of debt and to explore how this effect mainfested during the pandemic of COVID-19. In this regard, the data from 137 firms listed on Tehran Stock Exchange for 2012-2022 (1057 firm-years) have been analyzed. The generalized least squares (GLS) approach was employed to fit the models and fixed effects for years and industries were also controlled. The research results for the entire period demonstrate that an increase in accruals quality (as a proxy for accounting information quality) leads to the cost of financing through debts and this decrease is more pronounced for innate accruals quality than for discretionary accruals quality. Furthermore, the findings suggest that during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of accruals quality and its innate and discretionary components on the cost of debt diminished. The results of the robustness tests using decile-ranked values of accruals quality support the main findings.


The global pandemic of COVID-19 and the economic recession related to it brought many challenges to companies in most countries (Barai & Dhar, 2021). Due to the widespread effects of this disease and the various and costly measures taken by countries to control this pandemic, during the outbreak of COVID-19, the economic activities of companies faced a serious challenge (Aljughaiman et al., 2023). COVID-19 had a significant negative impact on the employment level of the workforce, reduced economic activity, and created high levels of uncertainty in many financial markets (Zhang et al., 2020). These conditions have most likely hurt the accounting information quality (Pham et al., 2023; Chen et al., 2023) and due to the inverse relationship between the accounting information quality and the cost of debt, it has led to an increase in the cost of debt. However, most of the empirical evidence in this regard is related to developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and the evidence on emerging markets (such as the Iranian capital market) is limited in this regard. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the relationship between the accruals quality and the cost of debt and to compare the extent of this relationship during the COVID-19 pandemic and other years.

Literature Review

In accounting, accruals refer to a part of earnings that does not carry cash flow and is a product of the accrual accounting system. Therefore, accruals represent the difference between earnings and cash flows (Nallareddy et al., 2020). Since accruals are affected by managerial discretion, the accruals quality can be used to evaluate the accounting information quality and predict future cash flows (Le et al., 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the global economy (Zhu & Song, 2021), involved many businesses in financial difficulties (Albitar et al., 2020) and intensified their dependence on resources provided by creditors and investors (Shen et al., 2020). Most likely, these conditions have affected the accounting information quality (Pham et al., 2023). During the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies have had enough motivation for earnings management (Lassoued & Khanchel, 2021). However, earnings management causes the financial information reported by companies to be inconsistent with their actual situation, and this means reducing the accounting information quality (Tariverdi et al., 2012). According to these materials, the research hypotheses are presented as follows:
H1: An increase in the quality of accruals causes a decrease in the cost of debt.
H2: In the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the intensity of the effect of accruals quality on the cost of debt has decreased.


This research is practical, analytical, quasi-experimental, correlational in terms of research purpose, and retrospective and post-event in terms of the time dimension of the data. To collect financial and accounting data, Rahvard Novin database and reports published on Codal website were used, and Stata software was used to analyze the data. To fit the models, the generalized least squares approach was used.


The results show that compared to other years, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the accruals quality (the cost of debt) has decreased (increased) by 27% (35%). Also, the results indicate that an increase in accruals quality decreases the cost of debt. Furthermore, our results show that compared to other years, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the intensity of the effect of the accruals quality on the cost of debt has decreased.


The research findings show that an increase in accruals quality significantly decreases the cost of financing. So, in order to reduce financing costs from debts, managers are advised to be diligent in improving the companies' accounting information quality. Finally, our results show that the cost of debt has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the decline in accruals quality and its components.


Our results show that with the increase in the quality of accruals, the cost of financing through debts has a significant decrease, and this decrease is more for the innate components of accruals quality than for its discretionary part. In addition, the findings indicate that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the intensity of the effect of the accruals quality and its innate and discretionary components on the cost of debt has decreased. The results of supplementary tests confirm the research main findings.


Main Subjects

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