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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2012

Karen Bargate

University Accountancy faculty need criteria to assist with the selection of textbooks, to ensure that the subject matter is congruent with the level at which students are…

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Abstract

Purpose

University Accountancy faculty need criteria to assist with the selection of textbooks, to ensure that the subject matter is congruent with the level at which students are taught. Readability is one such criterion. The purpose of this study is to assess the readability of two Managerial Accounting and two Financial Management textbooks, using three different readability evaluation methods.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample for the study included 281 Accounting students from an Eastern seaboard university. Each student was requested to complete two passages – one from a Management Accounting textbook and one from a Financial Management textbook. The Gunning Fog Index, Flesch Reading Ease and Cloze Procedure readability evaluation methods were used to measure readability.

Findings

The findings suggest varying levels of readability among the textbooks. Results from the Cloze Procedure reveal that three of the four textbooks were being read at the Frustration Level and the fourth marginally above the Frustration Level. The readability formulae returned varying results demonstrating that some of the textbooks were at a level that the students ought to be able to read.

Research limitations/implications

Only two Managerial Accounting and two Financial Management textbooks of many published were assessed, and only three readability evaluation methods were used.

Social implications

The findings have implications for university faculty, authors, publishers, editors and students.

Originality/value

The readability of Managerial Accounting and Financial Management textbooks used at South African universities, has received scant attention in the literature. The analysis of the readability of the accounting textbooks, presents a synthesis that adds important knowledge in this under‐researched topic.

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2020

Taejun (David) Lee, Bruce A. Huhmann and TaiWoong Yun

Government policy mandates information disclosure in financial communications to protect consumer welfare. Unfortunately, low readability can hamper information…

Abstract

Purpose

Government policy mandates information disclosure in financial communications to protect consumer welfare. Unfortunately, low readability can hamper information disclosures’ meaningful benefits to financial decision making. Thus, this experiment tests the product evaluation and decision satisfaction of Korean consumers with less or more subjective knowledge and with or without personal finance education.

Design/methodology/approach

A between-subjects experiment examined responses of a nationally representative sample of 400 Korean consumers toward a Korean-language credit card advertisement.

Findings

Financial knowledge improves financial product evaluation and decision satisfaction. More readable disclosures improved evaluation and satisfaction among less knowledgeable consumers. Less readable disclosures did not. Consumers without financial education exhibited lower evaluations and decision satisfaction regardless of readability. More knowledgeable consumers and those with financial education performed equally well regardless of disclosure readability.

Practical implications

Financial service providers seeking more accurate evaluations and better decision satisfaction among their customers should use easier-to-read disclosures when targeting consumers with less prior financial knowledge.

Social implications

One-size-fits-all financial communications are unlikely to achieve public policy or consumer well-being goals. Government-mandated information should be complemented by augmenting financial knowledge and providing personal finance training.

Originality/value

Although almost a quarter of the world’s population lives in East Asia, this is the first examination of readability in disclosures written in East Asian characters rather than a Western alphabet. Previous readability research on Asian-originating financial disclosures has been conducted on English-language texts. This study extends knowledge of readability effects to growing East Asian markets.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 38 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2014

Adele Berndt and Jane P. Wayland

Locally authored textbooks are used at tertiary South African institutions to assist in marketing research studies. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the…

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194

Abstract

Purpose

Locally authored textbooks are used at tertiary South African institutions to assist in marketing research studies. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the readability of locally authored marketing research textbooks in South Africa and compare them with international (USA) texts.

Design/methodology/approach

South African marketing research textbooks (authored locally) used at South African institutions were identified. Electronic versions of the textbooks were used and analysed using accepted readability formulae. The same procedure was used with texts produced in the USA and the findings of each were compared.

Findings

The South Africa texts scored higher on the Flesch Reading Ease score than US texts, which links to the target audience of these books (undergraduate students), while also being cognisant of the reading skills of the target audience but their score still describes them as “difficult”.

Research limitations/implications

The original formulae and theory tend to be dated, though there are recent studies into readability in other areas of business studies. There are also those that question the applicability of readability formulae in the tertiary environment.

Practical implications

Instructors need to ensure that material is at a suitable reading level to maximise the student's learning. For publishers and authors, this means that the examples and illustrations used need to be linked to the context in which the student lives and functions, and not just focus on the English used in the text.

Originality/value

While studies have been conducted into the readability of US textbooks, there is little published research into the readability of regional marketing research textbooks in other contexts to facilitate comparison.

Details

Journal of International Education in Business, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-469X

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2020

Desi Adhariani and Elda du Toit

This study aimed at investigating the readability of sustainability reports in Indonesia. The Indonesian government, through the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed at investigating the readability of sustainability reports in Indonesia. The Indonesian government, through the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan [OJK]), has issued regulation POJK 51/2017 concerning the implementation of sustainable finance, which requires public companies to prepare sustainability reports—either stand-alone reports or parts of annual reports. Until 2017, only 30% of the top public companies in terms of market capitalisation issued the required report. Companies' decisions to provide the report stem from the greater visibility and access to resources that flow from additional narratives. However, the usefulness of such a report can be questioned.

Design/methodology/approach

We used several linguistic techniques (Flesch Reading Ease [FRE], Flesch–Kincaid, and Gunning Fog measures) to evaluate the readability of sustainability reports. The analysis was performed using a software application called “Readability Studio 2015.”

Findings

We found the reports to have a low level of readability. This means that the information provided in the disclosures are very difficult to decipher and understand by the targeted users. Considering the similar levels of report readability in companies across industries, we observe a pattern of isomorphism in the way companies have implemented the same format and language construct in disclosing their sustainability information. They might apply the myth that complex language attracts investors or impresses others.

Research limitations/implications

The techniques to measure readability that we use might not capture the whole dimensions of readability and understandability, especially in the non-English language.

Practical implications

The results from this study can be used as evaluation tools for companies and regulators in preparing more intelligible and readable sustainability reports, as mandated by POJK 51/2017.

Social implications

Sustainability reports act as a medium of accountability for a company's sustainable production and operations. Their usefulness for investors and other users often depends on the readability of the information.

Originality/value

The readability of sustainability reports in the context of Indonesia as an emerging market has not been comprehensively investigated in previous research. This study is among the first of its kind to support the quality enhancement of the reports.

Details

Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-1168

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Book part
Publication date: 18 January 2021

Gonca Güngör Göksu and Serdar Dumlupinar

In this study, various acts including regulations of public financial management, fiscal responsibility, and state budget in the selected six countries were subjected to…

Abstract

In this study, various acts including regulations of public financial management, fiscal responsibility, and state budget in the selected six countries were subjected to different readability tests, and an international comparison was made. The fiscal responsibility act of six countries – Turkey, the UK, India, Australia, Canada, and Pakistan – were included in the study and analyzed. Each country was analyzed under its official language. Since English is an official language of all of the countries except for Turkey, the authors have evaluated the fiscal responsibility acts of these countries using the following readability tests: Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning-Fog, and Dale-Chall. Additionally, Public Financial Management and Control Law No. 5018 approved in Turkey was analyzed by the Ateşman Readability Test which was uniquely designed for Turkish grammar rules. The acts discussed in the study were analyzed not only as a whole but also in parts and subsections. According to the results of the study, the levels of readability of the existing laws in most of the selected countries are very difficult to understand for a university graduate. However, when the readability level of the British Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act tested as parts and subsections and a whole, it was rated at a level a university student could understand. This study analyses the readability and intelligibility of acts related to fiscal responsibility and the state budget in six selected countries, adopting Anglo-Saxon public administration model and making an inter-country evaluation. Since it is important that citizens have enough information about legislation for a citizen-oriented understanding, a legislation system that is understood by the larger part of the society is essential.

Details

Contemporary Issues in Public Sector Accounting and Auditing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-508-5

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Article
Publication date: 11 October 2018

Prabha Rajagopal, Sri Devi Ravana, Yun Sing Koh and Vimala Balakrishnan

The effort in addition to relevance is a major factor for satisfaction and utility of the document to the actual user. The purpose of this paper is to propose a method in…

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2764

Abstract

Purpose

The effort in addition to relevance is a major factor for satisfaction and utility of the document to the actual user. The purpose of this paper is to propose a method in generating relevance judgments that incorporate effort without human judges’ involvement. Then the study determines the variation in system rankings due to low effort relevance judgment in evaluating retrieval systems at different depth of evaluation.

Design/methodology/approach

Effort-based relevance judgments are generated using a proposed boxplot approach for simple document features, HTML features and readability features. The boxplot approach is a simple yet repeatable approach in classifying documents’ effort while ensuring outlier scores do not skew the grading of the entire set of documents.

Findings

The retrieval systems evaluation using low effort relevance judgments has a stronger influence on shallow depth of evaluation compared to deeper depth. It is proved that difference in the system rankings is due to low effort documents and not the number of relevant documents.

Originality/value

Hence, it is crucial to evaluate retrieval systems at shallow depth using low effort relevance judgments.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 71 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1987

CHAFFAI TEKFI

The aim of this paper is to review some of the findings in the field of readability research. First, the differences in meaning between the terms ‘readability’ and…

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to review some of the findings in the field of readability research. First, the differences in meaning between the terms ‘readability’ and ‘legibility’ are discussed. Next, the origins and developments of readability formulas are examined in detail. Then, the best‐known formulas for English language material are described so as to give the reader a brief overview of what has been achieved in this field of research. Finally, the principal applications of these formulas are described.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 43 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1999

Robin Sydserff and Pauline Weetman

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…

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3229

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.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2021

Mahdi Salehi, Hassan Mohammadzadeh Moghadam and Zohreh Hajiha

The present study aims to investigate the relationship between intellectual capital and the readability of financial statements with the mediating role of management…

Abstract

Purpose

The present study aims to investigate the relationship between intellectual capital and the readability of financial statements with the mediating role of management characteristics of companies listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange. In other words, this research tries to find the answer to whether intellectual capital can positively affect the readability of financial statements.

Design/methodology/approach

A multivariate regression model was used to test the hypotheses for this purpose. The research hypotheses were tested using a sample of 1,309 observations listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange from 2012 to 2018 and a multiple regression model based on panel data and fixed-effects models.

Findings

The results indicate that intellectual capital has a positive and significant relationship with the readability of financial statements, which means that with increasing intellectual capital in companies, financial statements’ readability also increases. Based on the hypothesis test results, it has been determined that narcissism, accrual and real earnings management have a negative effect on the relationship between intellectual capital and the readability of financial statements.

Originality/value

Since the present study examines such an issue in emerging markets, it provides users, analysts and legal entities with useful information about management’s inherent and acquired characteristics that significantly impact the purchase of audit opinion. This study’s results also contribute to developing science and knowledge in this field and close the literature gap.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2016

Brian A. Rutherford

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the accounting research project concerned with accounting narrative obfuscation, focusing on the translation of the concept of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the accounting research project concerned with accounting narrative obfuscation, focusing on the translation of the concept of readability from educational psychology via an earlier literature concerned with the readability of accounting narratives per se.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses actor-network theory and examines, in particular, the need for a network to accommodate the interests of its actors and the consequent risk of failure.

Findings

The analysis shows that the project is failing because the network seeking to support it is failing, and failing because of its inability to adapt sufficiently to accommodate the interests of its constituents. This failure is contrasted with the earlier concern with readability per se, which did see a successful reconfiguration of actors’ interests.

Research limitations/implications

The puzzle of the maladjustment of the network concerned with obfuscation is examined and it is suggested that it is a consequence of interests prevailing in the wider academic research network within which the relevant human actors are embedded.

Social implications

The reasons for the failure of the project are bound up in the wider circumstances of the contemporary accounting research community and may affect scholars’ capacity to pursue knowledge effectively.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to a modest stream of actor–network analysis directed at accounting research itself.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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