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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 8 December 2022

Minna Martikainen, Antti Miihkinen and Luke Watson

Negative disclosure tone in 10-K annual reports has economic consequences, yet relatively little is known about how it is generated. Boards of directors play an important…

Abstract

Purpose

Negative disclosure tone in 10-K annual reports has economic consequences, yet relatively little is known about how it is generated. Boards of directors play an important governance role with respect to mandatory disclosures and personally sign off on Form 10-K, leading us to expect directors to influence financial reporting narratives. This study investigates whether the negative tone of firms' narrative annual report disclosures is associated with the human and social capital of its board of directors.

Design/methodology/approach

Multivariate regression analyses of negative disclosure tone (Loughran and McDonald, 2011) on board members' average age, gender, education, financial expertise and turnover is performed. A host of supplemental tests to corroborate our primary analysis, including using Sarbanes-Oxley's financial expert mandate as an exogenous shock to board composition, impact threshold for a confounding variable, placebo analysis, portfolio tests of more and less negative disclosing firms and portfolio tests of “loud” versus “quiet” boards are conducted.

Findings

Evidence that directors' gender, education, financial expertise and board turnover are associated with more negative disclosure tone, while directors' age is associated with less negative disclosure tone is found. The study also looked within the board to differentiate whether these findings are driven by characteristics of inside directors or outside directors serving on the audit committee, or both, as these are the specific groups of directors we would expect to play a role in disclosure. It was found that negative disclosure tone is associated with a lower bid-ask spread, so this study interpreted more negative tone as containing more descriptive information.

Originality/value

This study helps decode the “black box” of annual report disclosure tone, which Loughran and McDonald (2011) show has important economic implications. The results help inform stakeholders such as policymakers, executives and capital market participants as to how board member traits are associated with disclosure. The findings are particularly important as this study bears witness to the increasing prominence of gender/diversity mandates (e.g. Israel, Norway, California) and financial expertise mandates (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley).

Details

Journal of Accounting Literature, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-4607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 November 2022

Nor Farizal Mohammed, Radziah Mahmud, Md. Shafiqul Islam and Norhayati Mohamed

The recent development in integrated reporting (<IR>) demonstrated a potential government tool for decision-making in allocating resources and developing sustainable…

Abstract

Purpose

The recent development in integrated reporting (<IR>) demonstrated a potential government tool for decision-making in allocating resources and developing sustainable policies for higher education institutions. This paper aims to examine the extent of the disclosure level of <IR> content elements in the annual reports of Malaysian Public Universities (MPUs). Additionally, the relationship between the disclosure level of <IR> content elements and the specific characteristics of MPUs is investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

The study performed descriptive statistics analysis for each component of <IR> content elements. This idea is achieved by examining the annual reports of MPUs between 2016 and 2018. The relationship was also investigated using ordinary least squares, fixed effect and lagged models.

Findings

The findings showed an increasing trend in the disclosure level of <IR> content elements in MPUs’ annual reports, supported by institutional theory. Furthermore, RUs exhibited a significant positive relationship with the disclosure level of <IR> content elements, whereas university size and report conciseness are insignificant variables.

Originality/value

The study adds to the body of knowledge in public sector accounting and has significant implications in the industry. This implication is specific to achieving sustainable development goals within the context of a developing country, paving avenues for further MPU reporting studies.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 December 2022

Sreepriya J., Suprabha K.R. and Krishna Prasad

This paper aims to examine the moderating role of global reporting initiative (GRI) compliance in the association between sustainability reporting and firm value.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the moderating role of global reporting initiative (GRI) compliance in the association between sustainability reporting and firm value.

Design/methodology/approach

This study investigates a sample of 223 manufacturing firms, encompassing 11 industries from 2010 to 2019. Using GRI compliance as a moderator, the authors employed a generalized method of moments model to study how sustainability disclosure impacts firm value.

Findings

The results indicate a positive and significant association between sustainability disclosure and firm value. This study reveals that GRI compliance moderates the relationship between sustainability disclosure and firm value, such that firm value increases when the firm adopts GRI in sustainability reporting.

Originality/value

No prior studies have examined GRI compliance's direct and moderating effects on the association between sustainability disclosures and firm value in the Indian manufacturing sector. This study is also valuable for the managers and industry to understand the significance of implementing voluntary sustainability disclosure practices and being GRI compliant.

Details

Society and Business Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5680

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2022

Zhiying Hu, Yan Li, Beixin Lin and Gary Kleinman

The purpose of this study is to investigate the decision usefulness of key audit matters (KAMs) disclosures from the perspective of financial analysts.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the decision usefulness of key audit matters (KAMs) disclosures from the perspective of financial analysts.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data from two groups of Chinese-listed firms subject to different audit standards, the authors use a quasi-natural experiment and the difference-in-differences approach to examine the impact of KAMs on analyst forecasts. The authors also conduct a textual analysis on management disclosures as well as on the content of KAM disclosures.

Findings

The results of this study show that both forecast errors and dispersion have significantly declined for the firms disclosing KAMs compared to the firms without such disclosures. Further analysis presents evidence that KAM disclosures have resulted in simultaneous increase in management disclosures and audit quality. In addition, auditor characteristics, such as auditor’s dependence on client fees and its industry specialization, and firm’s characteristics, such as its ownership structure and its social connection with the auditor, appear to affect the informativeness of KAM disclosures. The authors also perform content analysis of KAMs to provide additional insight.

Research limitations/implications

As AH firms are required to adopt the expanded audit report one year before A shares firms, by design, there is only one year in which these two types of companies differ. Therefore, the results without overgeneralizing the impact of KAM disclosures should be interpreted. In addition, this study involves the Chinese market alone and, therefore, may be affected by factors peculiar to the functioning of the Chinese economy and financial markets.

Originality/value

The main contribution of this study lies in highlighting the salience of KAM context in shaping the relationship between auditors, managers and analysts and its collective impact on information environment. The findings of this study are significant in that they help establish the importance of KAM disclosures in helping to assure that higher quality financial information is available to capital markets, as well as information that is otherwise unavailable given disclosure mandates in China. This study adds to the literature on the importance of providing additional means of safeguarding auditor independence and on the value of auditor expertise in providing useful content in audit disclosures. Moreover, the findings suggest that the expanded audit report can help reduce the level of asymmetric information, especially for state-owned entities. They provide insight on how the new audit rule influences managers and auditors communicating complex accounting matters as well as the moderating effect of the social connections between auditors and firm executives.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 1 December 2022

Akshay Jadhav, Shams Rahman and Kamrul Ahsan

This study explores the scope, materiality and extent of environmental and social sustainability disclosure – as benchmarked against the Global Reporting Initiatives…

Abstract

Purpose

This study explores the scope, materiality and extent of environmental and social sustainability disclosure – as benchmarked against the Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI-G4) – of the top 10 logistics firms operating in Australia. It also investigates the relationships between the extent of environmental and social sustainability disclosure of these firms and their actual financial performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted an inductive case study approach for an in-depth investigation of the relationships among concepts. A content analysis of the firms' sustainability reports was performed to determine their pattern and extent of sustainability disclosure against the GRI framework. A disclosure–performance analysis (DPA) matrix was employed to relate the extent of environmental and social sustainability disclosure of these 10 firms with their actual financial performance (i.e. return on assets [ROA] and total revenue growth).

Findings

This study found that the extent of sustainability reporting was relatively high on the labour practices and decent work subgroup, followed by the environmental dimension of the GRI-G4 framework. However, it was relatively low on the society, human rights and product responsibility subgroups of the GRI framework. The DPA revealed that “Leaders” (firms with higher sustainability disclosure levels) achieved significantly higher ROA. However, “Opportunists” (firms with lower sustainability disclosure levels) achieved higher levels of financial returns (i.e. ROA and total revenue growth) with less attention to sustainability issues, which contradicts the win-win view of the sustainability disclosure–financial performance relationship.

Originality/value

First, this study contributes an in-depth review of sustainability disclosure practices of top logistics firms operating in Australia. Second, using DPA, it identifies the novel effects of environmental and social sustainability disclosure levels on these firms' financial performance. It also sheds further light on the potential effect of investments beyond substantial profitability for sustainability growth and corporate governance on the sustainability disclosure–financial performance relationship.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 November 2022

Irene Pollach and Stefan Schaper

Social and environmental reports have become an increasingly regulated area of corporate reporting and communication. Nevertheless, the substance and level of detail…

Abstract

Purpose

Social and environmental reports have become an increasingly regulated area of corporate reporting and communication. Nevertheless, the substance and level of detail present in such disclosures is largely at the discretion of companies, which has implications for the value of such disclosures to stakeholders. The purpose of this study is to shed light on social visibility as a determinant of the variation in substance found in social disclosures in order to understand underlying reasons for why some firms offer more substance than others in their social disclosures.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a number of hypotheses, which are combined into social visibility, the paper investigates whether a firm's social visibility is a determinant of substance in social disclosures. To this end, the case of modern slavery statements is used as a recently introduced and legally mandated form of social sustainability disclosures.

Findings

The findings suggest that social visibility can explain part of the variation in the substance of social disclosures. However, for the remaining part, it is argued that substance in social disclosures can also be driven by institutional logics, which shape organizational outcomes in specific contexts, but are largely unobservable.

Originality/value

This article contributes new insights to the literature on the relationship between corporate social visibility and the substance of social disclosures.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 October 2022

Mohamed Toukabri and Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Youssef

This study is justified by the economic importance of information on greenhouse gases, as well as the interest in the question of governance structure after the adoption…

Abstract

Purpose

This study is justified by the economic importance of information on greenhouse gases, as well as the interest in the question of governance structure after the adoption of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. The problem is also explained by the lack of research that has investigated the relationship between the best governance structure that contributes to achieving sustainability goals, including climate actions (SDG13) and clean energy adoption (SDG7) as part of the 2030 Agenda.

Design/methodology/approach

The level of disclosure is measured on the basis of the carbon disclosure score calculated by the carbon disclosure project (CDP). The study sample consists of 387 US companies that voluntarily participated in the CDP survey from 2011 to 2018. The authors use panel data analysis based on multiple regression models.

Findings

The results confirm the influential role of board size, director independence, the presence of women on the board and the presence of an environmental committee on carbon disclosure. In terms of carbon disclosure, the results suggest that a better governance structure is likely to reduce carbon emissions and improve carbon performance practices. Similarly, the analyses show a different representation of the role of corporate governance in high-carbon sectors compared to low-carbon sectors.

Research limitations/implications

This study has some limitations. First, the sample is only interested in US companies that responded to the CDP questionnaire during the period 2011–2018. Thus, the results cannot be generalized to countries with different governance structures. Second, the data from this study on carbon disclosure, specifically focuses on CDP reporting to determine the carbon disclosure score. In this sense, the findings on information disclosed do not necessarily address disclosures through other media, such as a company’s website or a press release.

Originality/value

Sustainability and commitment to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) are more likely to exist in companies that have good governance and, in particular, a better board. The research is inspired by the SDGs. The study aims to examine the relationship between carbon disclosure and corporate governance in the context of SDGs. Indeed, this research work contributes to achieving sustainability goals, including climate actions (SDG13) and clean energy adoption (SDG7).

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 November 2022

Abdellatif Hussein Abogazia, Hafiza Aishah Hashim, Zalailah Salleh and Abdou Ahmed Ettish

This study aims to investigate the moderating effect of external financing needs on the relationship between the disclosure level of integrated reporting (IR) and firm…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the moderating effect of external financing needs on the relationship between the disclosure level of integrated reporting (IR) and firm value using evidence from Egypt.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a panel regression analysis for a matched sample of 50 companies listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX), specifically from EGX100. The sample covers four years (2017–2020). The current study uses content analysis to measure IR and Tobin’s Q as a proxy for firm value.

Findings

The findings reveal a significant positive relationship between the disclosure level of IR and firm value. In addition, the authors find that external financing needs moderate the relationship between IR and firm value. It is concluded that the higher the disclosure level of IR content, the higher the firm’s value, and that this relationship strengthens in firms with high needs for external financing.

Practical implications

Several practical implications can be derived from the results of the current study. Policymakers and regulators can impose mandatory requirements for IR in Egypt. It also opens new insights for board members, managers, analysts and auditors in forming financing decisions based on annual reports.

Originality/value

The present study has a novel insight from a developing country and significant contributions to the extant literature. The study provides empirical evidence from an emerging economy and an insight into how external financing can be used for firms with different levels of IR. It also provides a comprehensive disclosure index to estimate the level of IR.

Details

Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1985-2517

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 November 2022

J.-L.W. Mitchell Van der Zahn

To investigate, compare and document the magnitude and extent of intellectual capital disclosure to sustainability disclosure during a transition from a voluntary to…

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate, compare and document the magnitude and extent of intellectual capital disclosure to sustainability disclosure during a transition from a voluntary to mandated “comply or explain” sustainability reporting regime. And to empirically test if, during the regime transition period, changes in the magnitude (extent) of sustainability disclosure is a significant determinant of changes in the magnitude (extent) of intellectual capital disclosure.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis of 1,744 annual reports drawn from 436 Singapore listed firms spanning a four-year observation window (i.e. April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2018). The magnitude (number of sentences) and extent (number of items) of (1) intellectual capital disclosure measured using a 38-item index; (2) sustainability disclosure of a 105-item index; and (3) 15-item index to measure the magnitude and extent of joint sustainability/intellectual capital disclosure.

Findings

The average magnitude and extent of sustainability and the joint sustainability/intellectual capital disclosure increased whilst the average magnitude and extent of intellectual capital disclosure increased when regulatory discussion of a change to mandated sustainability reporting emerged. However, in the annual period the mandated sustainability reporting became effective while the average magnitude and extent of intellectual capital disclosure declined. Regression tests indicate a significant (insignificant) association between the change in the magnitude (extent) of sustainability disclosure and intellectual capital disclosure.

Research limitations/implications

From a research perspective, the analysis implies researchers investigating the consequences of mandated sustainability disclosure should consider impact on alternative non-financial disclosure themes and develop theoretical frameworks to derive why and how management may shift non-financial reporting strategies and practices.

Practical implications

For regulators, findings suggest there may be a need to weigh spillover costs of reductions in transparency related to intellectual capital. For investors, declines in the magnitude and extent of intellectual capital disclosure following a transition to mandated sustainability reporting may limit future firm valuation particularly of heavy intangible asset-oriented firms.

Originality/value

Initial study empirically investigating the impact of the transition from a voluntary to mandated sustainability reporting regime on the magnitude and extent of intellectual capital disclosure.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 November 2022

Andrew C. Stuart, Stephen H. Fuller, Nicole M. Heron and Tracey J. Riley

This paper aims to review and synthesize the corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure literature in order to (1) develop a comprehensive definition of disclosure

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review and synthesize the corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure literature in order to (1) develop a comprehensive definition of disclosure quality; (2) review the evolution of disclosure quality proxies used by accounting researchers; (3) describe the antecedents to disclosure quality; (4) describe the outcomes of disclosure quality; and (5) identify gaps in the current literature and offer suggestions for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

This study conducted a systematic review capturing articles examining CSR disclosure quality. The researchers first searched EBSCO, identifying all relevant articles by searching for “corporate social responsibility,” “CSR,” “ESG” and “sustainability reporting” anywhere in the article. Then, the results were filtered to focus on 23 of the most prominent accounting journals. The search resulted in 592 articles which were individually reviewed for relevance to the authors’ review. This study includes all articles that examine disclosure and provide insight into elements that influence disclosure quality or provide evidence of the effects of disclosure quality on user decision-making.

Findings

It is found that a comprehensive definition of CSR disclosure quality has yet to be developed and that proxies for CSR disclosure quality have evolved over time. This study synthesizes the literature on the antecedents of CSR disclosure quality, and how CSR disclosure quality affects users' decision-making and related outcomes. Overall, the review of this study suggests that assurance and a number of corporate features have important effects on disclosure quality. Also, high-quality disclosures are positively associated with many benefits to market participants.

Originality/value

This study complements Huang and Watson's (2015) CSR literature review by comprehensively reviewing and synthesizing the CSR disclosure quality literature that was only emerging when their review was published. Importantly, this study contributes to the CSR disclosure literature by developing a comprehensive definition of CSR disclosure quality that is grounded in the accounting literature and aligned with current frameworks.

Details

Journal of Accounting Literature, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-4607

Keywords

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