Company Responses to Demands for Annual Report Changes

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine how and the extent to which barriers to change inhibit new ideas about note disclosures to manifest themselves in annual reports.
Design/methodology/approach: The study employs regulation theory and draws on case studies in Denmark and the UK to understand compliance motivations and, on that basis, to identify the barriers to and enablers of changes to note disclosures in annual reports.
Findings: It is demonstrated how certain characteristics of the annual report preparation process can dampen the potential for change. It is also shown how preparer perceptions of oversight agents (auditors, enforcers, audit committees) have effects on disclosure behaviour. These characteristics appear to cause defensiveness among the actors involved in the process, inhibiting changes. In contrast, enablers are related to trust in regulatory enforcement, facilitation from enforcers, user orientation and shared understanding among functional groups involved in the preparation process.
Practical implications: The preparation of notes is susceptible to the influence of a range of factors, such as company politics, perceptions of enforcement styles and actors’ concerns about being blamed for inappropriate responses to regulation. These findings could be considered by regulators, auditors and preparers in enhancing understanding of their respective roles in the annual report preparation process.
Originality/value: This study illuminates the conditions that facilitate change when new ideas are introduced to a highly normative and detailed field. The study contributes to previous research by providing a fieldwork-based analysis of the practices, judgements, discussions and actors involved in the preparation of note disclosures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1593-1617
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • IFRS
  • Annual report
  • Compliance motivations
  • Notes

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