Research Handbook of Finance and Sustainability
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Research Handbook of Finance and Sustainability

Edited by Sabri Boubaker, Douglas Cumming and Duc K. Nguyen

The severe consequences of the global financial crisis 2008-2009 and numerous accounting frauds and financial scandals over the last fifteen years have let to calls for more ethical and responsible actions in all economic activities including consumption, investing, governance and regulation. Despite the fact that ethics in business and corporate social responsibility rules have been adopted in various countries, more efforts have to be devoted to motivate and empower more actors to integrate ethical behavior and rules in making business and managerial decisions. The Research Handbook of Finance and Sustainability will provide the readers but particularly investors, managers, and policymakers with comprehensive coverage of the issues at the crossroads of finance, ethics and sustainable development as well as proposed solutions, while focusing on three different levels: corporations, investment funds, and financial markets.
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Chapter 28: The effect of publication, format and content of Integrated Reports on analysts’ earnings forecasts

Suhee Kim, Karen Maas and Paolo Perego

Abstract

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.

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