Financial reporting in emerging capital markets : a case study of Ghana
This thesis investigates the evolution and quality of financial reporting in Ghana from 1988-1997. The issues examined are comparability of accounting measurement methods, adequacy of disclosure and relevance, promotion and observance of the standards of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC). The impact of three factors, namely, firm size, listing status and accounting regulation on financial reporting are evaluated. The accounting measurement and disclosure practices in Ghana were ascertained from the 1988-1997 annual reports of fifteen non-financial companies listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) on 31 December 1997. Interviews with the executives and auditors of the sample companies, financial analysts and regulators of financial reporting in Ghana were also conducted. The data were analysed using nonparametric statistical techniques. This study reveals that the establishment of the Ghana Stock Exchange and the introduction of new accounting regulations in Ghana did not alter significantly the accounting measurement methods used by the companies studied from 1988-1997. While mandatory disclosure declined, overall disclosure, voluntary disclosure and, in a large measure, the disclosure of categories of information increased over the ten years. Firm size and listing status were found to be significantly positively associated with overall disclosure and voluntary disclosure. Accounting regulation was significantly positively associated with overall disclosure, but not mandatory disclosure. The impact of firm size, listing status and accounting regulation on disclosure of categories of information was mixed. IASC standards were perceived by corporate executives, statutory auditors, financial analysts and regulators of financial reporting in Ghana to be an influential factor in the development of the Ghana Stock Exchange. The Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) and public accounting and auditing firms of the sample companies were noted to be active promoters of IASC standards in Ghana. On the whole, the observance of IASC standards in Ghana increased from 1988-1997 and was comparable overall to levels found in other countries. Listing status and accounting regulation, rather than firm size, were found to be significantly positively associated with the observance of IASC standards in Ghana from 1988-1997.