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The impact of strategic emphasis on the readability of narrative information in annual reports

Minyoung Noh (Department of Accounting, College of Business and Economics, California State University Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Jimi Park (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business, Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Pacific Accounting Review

ISSN: 0114-0582

Article publication date: 5 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how a firm’s strategic emphasis on value appropriation over value creation is associated with the readability of narrative disclosures in annual reports.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines the effect of the strategic emphasis on annual report readability based on a total of 45,273 US firm-year (5,754 unique firms) observations for the period from 1994 to 2018. Strategic emphasis is measured as advertising expenses minus research and development expenses, scaled by sales and Bog index and various measures, such as the FOG, KINCAID and FLESCH index, are used to measure the annual report readability.

Findings

The authors find that the strategic emphasis on value appropriation over value creation is positively related to firms’ annual report readability. In addition, the positive effect of the strategic emphasis on value appropriation over value creation on annual report readability is more pronounced with high managerial ability.

Practical implications

With the continual effort of Securities and Exchange Commission regulation and IFRS updates to improve narrative disclosures, it is meaningful to provide evidence showing how managers shape narratives in annual reports by highlighting good news with easy-to-understand words, but also may establish a barrier to understanding by choosing to use long and complex words depending on their strategic emphasis.

Originality/value

The evidence suggests that a strategic emphasis between value appropriation and value creation and managerial ability is an important factor in shaping the readability of annual reports, which contributes to the management, accounting and finance literature that investigates the relationship between resource deployment (i.e. strategic emphasis) and textual properties of corporate financial disclosures (i.e. readability).

Keywords

Citation

Noh, M. and Park, J. (2022), "The impact of strategic emphasis on the readability of narrative information in annual reports", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/PAR-05-2022-0073

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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