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Exploring the use and users of narrative reporting in the online annual report

N. Rowbottom (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
A. Lymer (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Journal of Applied Accounting Research

ISSN: 0967-5426

Article publication date: 14 September 2010

4984

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore who uses narrative reporting information contained within online corporate annual reports and assess the relative use of different types of narrative information.

Design/methodology/approach

Web server logs were used to analyse over one million instances where information is successfully delivered to users of the corporate web sites of 15 FTSE 350 companies.

Findings

The most frequent users of the online annual report are, respectively, private individuals, those registered under internet service providers, employees and professional investors/creditors. The results suggest that those with greater experience and expertise in preparing and using financial accounts adopt different information preferences with respect to the online annual report. Although experienced users such as professional investors, creditors and accounting firms use the annual report to download predominantly detailed financial accounting data, the widespread availability and accessibility of the online annual report allows narratives to provide a source of general company information for employees and a wider stakeholder audience.

Originality/value

The paper presents the first large‐scale survey into the use and users of online annual reports.

Keywords

Citation

Rowbottom, N. and Lymer, A. (2010), "Exploring the use and users of narrative reporting in the online annual report", Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 90-108. https://doi.org/10.1108/09675421011069487

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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