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A texture index for evaluating accounting narratives: An alternative to readability formulas

Robin Sydserff (Department of Accountancy and Finance, School of Management, Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
Pauline Weetman (Department of Accountancy and Finance, School of Management, Heriot‐Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 1 October 1999

3297

Abstract

Readability formulas have been criticised as a method for scoring accounting narratives because of their focus on word‐ and sentence‐level features and not on whole‐text aspects, their lack of regard for the interests and motivation of the reader, and their inappropriateness for evaluating adult‐based and technical accounting narratives. The literature of linguistics offers theoretical and practical validation for application of a texture index which addresses these criticisms. The paper shows how the general model drawn from applied linguistics can be tailored to the specific situation of an accounting narrative – the Operating and Financial Review. Rules which provide for objectivity in replication are specified and illustrated for a sample narrative. Illustrative empirical analysis shows that there is no evidence of association with the Flesch readability score. This suggests that the texture index is potentially a powerful tool for analysis of accounting narratives and association testing.

Keywords

Citation

Sydserff, R. and Weetman, P. (1999), "A texture index for evaluating accounting narratives: An alternative to readability formulas", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 459-488. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513579910283503

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

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