Exploring the quality of corporate environmental reporting: surveying preparers’ and users’ perceptions

Helfaya, A., Whittington, M. and Alawattage, C. (2019) Exploring the quality of corporate environmental reporting: surveying preparers’ and users’ perceptions. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 32(1), pp. 163-193. (doi: 10.1108/AAAJ-04-2015-2023)

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide a multidimensional model for assessing the quality of corporate environmental reporting (CER) incorporating both preparer- and user-based views. Design/methodology/approach: As opposed to frequently used researcher-chosen proxies, the authors used an online questionnaire asking preparers and users how they assess the quality of a company’s environmental report. Findings: The analysis of the responses of 177 users and 86 preparers shows that quantity was not perceived as the most significant element in determining quality. Besides quantity, the respondents also perceived information types, measures used, themes disclosed, adopting reporting guidelines, inclusion of assurance statement and the use of visual tools as significant dimensions/features of reporting quality. Research limitations/implications: The online questionnaire has some limitations, especially in terms of researcher being absent to clarify meanings and, hence, possibilities that respondents may misinterpret the questionnaire elements. Practical implications: Considering that robust, reliable measurement of reporting quality is difficult, preparers, standard setters and policy makers need multidimensional quality models that incorporate both users’ perceptions of quality and preparers’ pragmatic understanding of the quality delivery process. These will make the preparers informed of whether their disclosure may be falling short of users’ expectations. Originality/value: Amid, increasing complexity of CER, the research contributes to the growing body of literature on assessing the quality of CER by developing a less subjective, multidimensional, preparer–user-based quality model. This innovative quality model goes beyond the traditional quality models, subjective author-based quality measures. Focussing on the three dimensions of reporting quality – content, credibility and communication – it also offers a high-level resolution of meaning of CER quality.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Content analysis, environmental reporting, reporting quality, disclosure index, multidimensional quality model.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Alawattage, Professor Chandana
Authors: Helfaya, A., Whittington, M., and Alawattage, C.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance
Research Group:Accounting
Journal Name:Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Journal Abbr.:AAAJ
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN (Online):1758-4205
Published Online:21 January 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited
First Published:First published in Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal 32(1): 163-193
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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