“With food in hand, you will not feel panic”, which is in Mao Zedong’s poem, can be a good explanation of the importance of customers to enterprises. In October 2017, the State Council issued the Guidance on Actively Promoting Supply Chain Innovation and Application, which promoted supply chain innovation and application as a national strategy. Supply chain management and innovation is an important starting point for reducing costs and increasing efficiency, cultivating new economic growth points, and promoting high-quality economic development. In May 2020, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee held a meeting to analyze the COVID-19 prevention and control situation at home and abroad, and enhance the stability and competitiveness of industrial and supply chains. The stability of supply chain is not only the fundamental to ensure the survival of enterprises, but also one of the important ways to promote high-quality economic development.
The impact of customer stability on the quality of accounting information is an important and interesting research problem. Stabilizing customer relationship can not only save indirect costs such as enterprise search, bargaining and contract performance, but also reduce enterprise operating costs, provide a guarantee for the sustainable and stable income of enterprises, and then inhibit the motivation of enterprises to manipulate accounting information. The reasons are that: First, stable customers can save enterprise search costs, contract signing costs and subsequent default costs. The degree of customer stability not only indicates the degree of performance and reputation of enterprises, but also sends a signal of stable income and good quality of accounting information to stakeholders. Second, as one of the important stakeholders in the whole supply chain, customer stability largely determines the operating costs and sales costs of enterprises. The enterprise production process generally includes that: Make a production plan according to the customer order provided by the sales department; after the plan is determined, it is distributed to the purchase department, warehouse and production and processing department; after meeting the delivery requirements, the sales department is notified to ship according to the customer order. Only with stable customers can the enterprise have a definite aim in the whole production process and save the operating costs in the process of production, storage and sales. Third, stable customers can bring sustained and stable benefits to enterprises, which not only reduces performance pressure, but also transmits the information of good business conditions to stakeholders, and weakens the motivation of management to manipulate accounting information. Therefore, it can be inferred that when enterprise customers are unstable, enterprise transaction costs (operating costs, sales costs, contract execution costs, etc.) will also increase. Facing the constraints of performance pressure, position and reputation, self-interest management is more motivated to manipulate accounting information.
Taking A-share listed companies from 2013 to 2018 as the research sample, this paper empirically tests the impact of customer stability on the quality of accounting information. It is found that customer stability can significantly improve the quality of accounting information. That is, the more stable the customer relationship, the lower the earnings management level of enterprises, and the higher the quality of accounting information. This conclusion is still valid after the robustness tests such as instrumental variable method, propensity score matching (PSM) method, alternative variables and so on. Further heterogeneity test results show that the effect of customer stability on the improvement of accounting information quality is more obvious in the samples of non-state-owned enterprises, enterprises with fierce industry competition, enterprises with high audit quality, and enterprises without short selling in that year. The findings help to expand the research literature on the economic consequences of enterprise accounting information and supply chain management, and have some enlightenment for the in-depth understanding of supply chain management and optimization to promote high-quality economic development.