[en] During the last seven decades, business failure has been one of the most investigated topic in the accounting literature . However, most of this literature is focused either on a prediction perspective considered in a credit-risk management perspective or on a purely technical perspective allowing to test the ability of some new statistical or mathematical technique to correctly predict a potential failure (Morris, 1997).
Simultaneously, relatively few attention has been paid to the identification of typical failure paths allowing to understand how a company may decline and allowing then to interfere with this process to really prevent such a final bankruptcy. (Laitinen, 1995).
In this paper, we analyse financial statements published by 11 800 Belgian SMEs that were active during the period 1995 – 2003 ; for each of them, we estimate the Legal Failure Risk that characterizes their financial statements (this indicator is built by integrating the two financial aspects effectively taken into account by the Belgian Business Law to define a legal bankruptcy, i.e. unsolvency and illiquidity ) and we analyze how this indicator evolves over a long period and which are the other financial aspects (in terms of value added, profitability, financial structure and assets structure) that provoke such an evolution.
As a result, we are able to isolate seven typical patterns of evolution amongst failing Belgian SMEs and we are able to describe, for each year and up to seven years before a fatal deterioration, the financial pattern of deterioration in which they are engaged.
These results are obtained by implementing a specific statistical approach, essentially based on a mix of cluster analysis on longitudinal data and of correspondence analysis on the same data.
Accounting & auditing
Author, co-author :
Van Caillie, Didier ; Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC-Ecole de gestion : UER > Diagnostic et contrôle de l'entreprise - Centre d'Etude de la Performance des Entreprises (C.E.P.E.)
Crutzen, Nathalie ; Université de Liège - ULiège > HEC-Ecole de gestion : UER > Diagnostic et contrôle de l'entreprise
Towards the identification of critical stages in the failure path : a longitudinal approach amongst Belgian SMEs
Alternative titles :
[en] Vers l'identification d'étapes critiques dans le processus de défaillance d'une entreprise : une approche longitudinale
Publication date :
Event name :
30nd Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association