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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2021

Michael Grassmann, Stephan Fuhrmann and Thomas W. Guenther

Credibility concerns regarding integrated reports can harm the intended decrease of information asymmetry between a firm and its investors. Therefore, it is crucial to…

Abstract

Purpose

Credibility concerns regarding integrated reports can harm the intended decrease of information asymmetry between a firm and its investors. Therefore, it is crucial to examine whether voluntary third-party assurance enhances the credibility of integrated reports and, thus, decreases information asymmetry. Furthermore, this study aims to investigate the interaction effect between assurance quality and the disclosed connectivity of the capitals, a distinguishing feature of integrated reports.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis is performed of the 176 assurance statements included in the 269 integrated reports of Forbes Global 2000 firms disclosed from 2013 to 2015 and the 269 integrated reports themselves. Regression analyzes are applied to examine the associations between assurance, the disclosed connectivity of the capitals and information asymmetry.

Findings

The presence of an assurance statement in an integrated report significantly decreases information asymmetry. Surprisingly, assurance quality is not significantly associated with information asymmetry. However, an interaction analysis reveals that combining high assurance quality with high disclosed connectivity of the capitals allows a significant decrease in information asymmetry.

Research limitations/implications

The paper demonstrates that the connectivity of the capitals of integrated reports and assurance quality are connected and together are associated with information asymmetry.

Practical implications

The results imply, both for report preparers and standard setters, that assurance quality is advantageous only when combined with disclosed connectivity of the capitals.

Social implications

More information on non-financial information measured by the connectivity of the capitals of integrated reporting has an interaction effect together with assurance quality on information asymmetry.

Originality/value

This paper builds on a unique data set derived from the contents of integrated reports and accompanying assurance statements. Furthermore, it extends the integrated reporting literature by investigating the interaction between assurance quality and the disclosed connectivity of the capitals, which had not previously been examined in combination.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 September 2019

Michael Grassmann, Stephan Fuhrmann and Thomas W. Guenther

Integrated reporting (IR) aims to provide disclosures of the connectivity of non-financial and financial value creation aspects. These disclosures are defined as the…

Abstract

Purpose

Integrated reporting (IR) aims to provide disclosures of the connectivity of non-financial and financial value creation aspects. These disclosures are defined as the disclosed connectivity of the capitals resulting from integrated thinking. This paper aims to investigate the extent of disclosed connectivity of the capitals in integrated reports and its underlying managerial discretion by drawing on economic-based theories.

Design/methodology/approach

Regression analyses are applied to examine the associations between economic firm-level characteristics and the extent of disclosed connectivity of the capitals. The analyses are based on a content analysis of 169 integrated reports disclosed in 2013 and 2014 by Forbes Global 2000 companies.

Findings

This paper finds high heterogeneity in the extent of disclosed connectivity of the capitals in current IR practice. This heterogeneity is related to drivers arising from economic-based theories. Firms’ non-financial and financial performance and the importance of strategic shareholders and debt providers are positively associated with the extent of disclosed connectivity of the capitals. The complexity of the business model and a highly competitive environment are negatively associated with the extent of disclosed connectivity of the capitals.

Research limitations/implications

This paper extends qualitative IR studies on the disclosed connectivity of the capitals by quantitative results from a content analysis for a cross-sectional and global sample. Additionally, this study adds to prior IR literature on the drivers of the binary decision to disclose an integrated report by focusing on the extent of disclosed connectivity of the capitals.

Practical implications

For report preparers, users and standard setters, the results reveal that perceived cost-benefit considerations (signaling vs. direct and proprietary costs) may explain managerial discretion regarding the connectivity of the capitals within integrated reports.

Social implications

This paper examines integrated reports, which are intended to inform providers of financial capital and other stakeholders about the connectivity of the six capitals of the IR framework.

Originality/value

This paper develops a metric disclosure measure of the extent of disclosed connectivity of the capitals. It provides initial evidence of how the IR framework’s focus on this key characteristic is realized in disclosure practice. Concerns about competitive disadvantages and preparation costs limit this key characteristic of integrated reports.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 10 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 September 2021

Deborah Yvonne Nagel, Stephan Fuhrmann and Thomas W. Guenther

The usefulness of risk disclosures (RDs) to support equity investors’ investment decisions is highly discussed. As prior research criticizes the extensive aggregation of…

Abstract

Purpose

The usefulness of risk disclosures (RDs) to support equity investors’ investment decisions is highly discussed. As prior research criticizes the extensive aggregation of risk information in existing empirical research, this paper aims to provide an attempt to identify disaggregated risk information associated with cumulative abnormal stock returns (CARs).

Design/methodology/approach

The sample consists of 2,558 RDs of companies listed in the S&P 500 index. The RDs were filed within 10 K filings between 2011 and 2017. First, this study automatically extracted 35,685 key phrases that occurred in a maximum of 1.5% of the RDs. Second, this study performed stepwise regressions of these key phrases and identified 67 (78) key phrases that show positive (negative) associations with CARs.

Findings

The paper finds that investors seem to value most the more common key phrases just below the 1.5% rarest key phrase threshold and business-related key phrases from RDs. Furthermore, investors seem to perceive key phrases that contain words indicating uncertainty (impacts) as a negative (positive) rather than a positive (negative) signal.

Research limitations/implications

The research approach faces limitations mainly due to the selection of the included key phrases, the focus on CARs and the methodological choice of the stepwise regression analysis.

Originality/value

The study reveals the potential for companies to increase the information value of their RDs for equity investors by providing tailored information within RDs instead of universal phrases. In addition, the research indicates that the tailored RDs encouraged by the SEC contain relevant information for investors. Furthermore, the results may guide the attention of equity investors to relevant text passages whose deeper analysis might be useful with regard to investors’ capital market decisions.

Article
Publication date: 28 September 2019

Stephan Fuhrmann

This paper aims to unite firm- and country-level drivers of the disclosure of integrated reports. It creates a synopsis of voluntary disclosure, signaling, proprietary…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to unite firm- and country-level drivers of the disclosure of integrated reports. It creates a synopsis of voluntary disclosure, signaling, proprietary cost, legitimacy, stakeholder and institutional theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical analyses build on a logistic regression model examining the disclosure decisions for integrated reports published between 2012 and 2016 by the 2,000 largest listed companies worldwide.

Findings

The results indicate that the disclosure of integrated reports by large listed companies is explained in parallel by multiple theories, operationalized by the firm-level characteristics of lower profitability, a higher market-to-book value, lower leverage, lower level of industry concentration and higher social performance. Additionally, the country-level characteristics of civil law setting and lower investor protection, lower power distance and lower masculinity coincide with the disclosure of integrated reports.

Originality/value

The inferences emphasize that a single theoretical framework cannot explain the decision to disclose an integrated report. Rather, a set of economic firm characteristics may lead to different disclosure decisions in different socio-economic and institutional environments.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 14 November 2022

Neelam Setia, Subhash Abhayawansa and Mahesh Joshi

The diffusion of integrated reporting as a practice has stimulated an academic debate about whether integrated reporting has the potential to advance sustainability. The…

Abstract

The diffusion of integrated reporting as a practice has stimulated an academic debate about whether integrated reporting has the potential to advance sustainability. The International Integrated Reporting Framework, which guides the preparation of integrated reports, focuses specifically on providers of financial capital and does not refer explicitly to sustainability in a significant way. But there is evidence that integrated reporting has enhanced the provision of sustainability disclosures. This chapter scrutinizes academic research on integrated reporting, focusing on sustainability published from 2010 to 2021. First, we synthesize arguments about aspects of integrated reporting that inhibit the advancement of sustainability as well as those that help advance sustainability. Then we explain a two-pronged approach for improving the sustainability orientation of any future connected reporting framework. The first one relates to building on the current strengths of integrated reporting for advancing sustainability. The second approach concerns tackling the obstacles to promoting sustainability through integrated reporting identified in the literature. This chapter also provides important insights for future research in the field.

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