Integrated reporting and board characteristics: evidence from top Australian listed companies

Mohamed Omran*, Dinesh Ramdhony, Oren Mooneeapen, Vishaka Nursimloo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Drawing upon agency theory, this study analyses the influence of board characteristics on integrated reporting (IR) for the top 50 companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX50). Focus is placed on IR at the aggregate level as well as its separate components, namely Future Opportunities and Risks (FOPRI), Governance and Strategy (GOVSTR), Performance (PERF), Overview and Business Model (OBM) and General Preparation and Presentation (GPP). Design/methodology/approach: A checklist is devised based on the IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council) framework to track companies' disclosures for the period from 1st July 2014 to 30th June 2017. Regression analysis is used to investigate the determinants (board size, board independence, activity of the board, gender diversity, firm size, profitability and growth opportunities) of IR and its separate components. Findings: The findings indicate a significant and positive effect of board independence on the aggregate IR index, FOPRI and GPP. A negative and significant association is found between activity of the board and both the aggregate IR index and its separate components, including GOVSTR, PERF and GPP. Additionally, the aggregate IR index is significantly related to firm size, profitability and growth opportunities. Research limitations/implications: The limited sample of 50 companies over three years is the main limitation of the study. The study suffers from an inherent limitation from the use of content analysis in assessing the level of IR. No checklist to measure the level of IR can be fully exhaustive. Furthermore, we focus on whether an item in the checklist is disclosed, using a dichotomous scale, thus ignoring the quality of information disclosed. Practical implications: The study has several practical implications. From a managerial perspective, it shows that having more board meetings harms the level of IR. The results can guide regulators, such as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), when drafting new regulations/guidelines/listing rules. If regulators aim for a higher level of integration in the reports, they know which “triggers to pull” to attain their target. Our results can guide regulators to choose the appropriate trigger among various alternatives. For instance, if a higher level of integrated reporting is desired, size instead of profitability should be chosen. Finally, ASX listed companies can use our checklist as a scorecard for their self-assessment. Originality/value: This research is the first to investigate IR by devising a checklist based on IIRC (2013) along with an additional GPP component in the ASX context. Using separate models to examine each component of the aggregate IR index is also unique to this study. The study also brings to the fore the role of gender-diverse boards in promoting IR. It reiterates the debate about imposing a quota for better gender representation on boards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-758
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Applied Accounting Research
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Agency theory
  • Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
  • Board characteristics
  • Integrated reporting

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