Restatement of CSR Reports: Frequency, Magnitude, and Determinants

75 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2018 Last revised: 10 May 2019

See all articles by Matt Pinnuck

Matt Pinnuck

University of Melbourne - Department of Accounting and Business Information Systems

Ajanee Ranasinghe

The University of Melbourne

Naomi S. Soderstrom

University of Melbourne

Joey Zhou

Independent

Date Written: May 8, 2019

Abstract

We provide the first direct analysis of the reliability of the quantitative information disclosed in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports. We examine the frequency, magnitude and determinants of CSR report restatements for the Global Fortune 250 (G250) from 2006 to 2013. During this period, 39% of G250 CSR reports were restated, with a monotonic increase across time from 29% in 2006 to 53% in 2013. The median magnitude of line item restatement is 10%, with a bias toward overstatement. In our exploration of determinants and economic incentives associated with CSR report restatements, we find that restatement frequency is positively associated with firm environmental and social complexity and that restatements occur more frequently in firms that have reported a high level of social performance and have environmental targets. We also find that frequency of restatement is positively associated with firms that reside in strong law countries and have their CSR reports audited. Our analysis of reporting bias indicates a negative association between adoption of GRI reporting guidelines and the likelihood of an overstatement. We also find a positive association between having the CSR report audited and the likelihood of overstatements. Together, our results indicate that CSR information could be unreliable and firms that face pressure to perform well have more restatements. However, use of measurement guidelines helps restrict managers’ disclosure choices and thus prevents opportunistic choice of measurement methods. Auditors also appear to invest more time and effort to reduce over - rather than understatement of performance.

Suggested Citation

Pinnuck, Matthew and Ranasinghe, Ajanee and Soderstrom, Naomi S. and Zhou, Joey, Restatement of CSR Reports: Frequency, Magnitude, and Determinants (May 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095090 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3095090

Matthew Pinnuck

University of Melbourne - Department of Accounting and Business Information Systems ( email )

Victoria
Melbourne, Victoria 3010 3010
Australia

Ajanee Ranasinghe

The University of Melbourne ( email )

7/198 Berkeley St.,University of Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

Naomi S. Soderstrom (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne ( email )

Victoria
Melbourne, 3010
Australia

Joey Zhou

Independent ( email )

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