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Suhee Kim, Karen Maas and Paolo Perego

Integrated Reporting (IR) has recently emerged as an accounting innovation that combines financial and non-financial/sustainability information relevant to corporate value creation in a single report. While prior research on IR examined the supply side (i.e., motivation for and content) of IR, this study focuses on the demand side of IR. We specifically investigate whether IR strengthens financial analysts’ earnings forecasts and what aspects of IR influence better forecasting. For this purpose, we conduct (1) a within-firm analysis from a sample of IR early adopters to measure the difference between the pre- and post-levels of forecast dispersion following the IR release and (2) a between-firm matching analysis to test whether an IR release is indeed associated with a lower dispersion. We examine 156 IR adopters from 18 countries in 2014 and 2015, matched with 95 non-IR firms selected as a control group. The results show that a single IR (type 3) decreases the post-level of forecast dispersion of IR firms with a smaller pre-forecast dispersion in comparison with the control group. Moreover, IR completeness and detail are associated with the post-level of forecast dispersion of IR firms with smaller pre-forecast dispersion, while IR accountability (reporting more negative issues) and length have no effect on it. Our findings suggest that an IR presenting more content elements and more detail may decrease uncertainty about a firm’s information environment and therefore strengthen analysts’ decisions.