Exploring the extent and determinants of accounting information disclosure in interim reports : an empirical study of UK listed companies
The focus of this research is the disclosure of accounting information in interim reports. The main objective of the research is to assess disclosure of accounting information in interim reports of UK companies listed on the LSE and to investigate whether variations in interim disclosure can be explained by corporate attributes that differentiate companies. The secondary objective is to examine perceptions of investment analysts regarding the importance of information items disclosed in interim reports for investment decision-making. Employing a disclosure-index framework, a list of 113 information items that are and could be disclosed was compiled and a mail questionnaire forwarded to investment analysts to determine the importance of the items. A cross-sectional disclosure model was developed to examine the relationship between interim disclosure and companyspecific and corporate governance attributes. The primary findings show that (1) investment analysts perceive information disclosed in interim reports as important for their investment decision-making and that there exists agreement between what companies disclose and what investment analysts perceive as importance items of disclosure, and (2) there are variations in the extent of interim disclosure and that both company-specific and corporate governance variables help explain these variations. The findings indicate that the extent of interim disclosure is positively related to company size, listing status, external auditor involvement, acquisition transactions, payment of an interim dividend, techMARK listing, and substantial institutional investors. The results also show that interim disclosure is negatively related to liquidity ratio, CEO age and shareholding of audit committee members. This research contributes to the disclosure literature in a number of ways. First it examines variables previously associated with annual disclosures as possible explanatory factors of differences in interim disclosure. Second, it investigates the influence of corporate governance variables on interim disclosure, an area that has been neglected in previous studies. Furthermore, the research introduces two new variables (external auditor involvement and shareholding of audit committee members), which have not been examined in prior disclosure studies. These findings have implications for the development of interim reporting and for corporate governance policy formulation.