In Search of Meaning: Lessons, Resources and Next Steps for Computational Analysis of Financial Discourse

42 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2019

See all articles by Mahmoud El‐Haj

Mahmoud El‐Haj

Lancaster University

Paul Rayson

Lancaster University

Martin Walker

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Steven Young

Lancaster University - Department of Accounting and Finance

Vasiliki Simaki

Lancaster University, Department of Linguistics

Date Written: March/April 2019

Abstract

We critically assess mainstream accounting and finance research applying methods from computational linguistics (CL) to study financial discourse. We also review common themes and innovations in the literature and assess the incremental contributions of studies applying CL methods over manual content analysis. Key conclusions emerging from our analysis are: (a) accounting and finance research is behind the curve in terms of CL methods generally and word sense disambiguation in particular; (b) implementation issues mean the proposed benefits of CL are often less pronounced than proponents suggest; (c) structural issues limit practical relevance; and (d) CL methods and high quality manual analysis represent complementary approaches to analyzing financial discourse. We describe four CL tools that have yet to gain traction in mainstream AF research but which we believe offer promising ways to enhance the study of meaning in financial discourse. The four tools are named entity recognition (NER), summarization, semantics and corpus linguistics.

Keywords: 10‐K, annual reports, computational linguistics, conference calls, corpus linguistics, earnings announcements, machine learning, NLP, semantics

Suggested Citation

El‐Haj, Mahmoud and Rayson, Paul and Walker, Martin and Young, Steven and Simaki, Vasiliki, In Search of Meaning: Lessons, Resources and Next Steps for Computational Analysis of Financial Discourse (March/April 2019). Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Vol. 46, Issue 3-4, pp. 265-306, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3377616 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jbfa.12378

Mahmoud El‐Haj

Lancaster University

Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

Paul Rayson

Lancaster University ( email )

School of Computing and Communications
Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom

Martin Walker

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

Steven Young (Contact Author)

Lancaster University - Department of Accounting and Finance ( email )

The Management School
Lancaster LA1 4YX
United Kingdom
+441 5245-94242 (Phone)
+441 5248-47321 (Fax)

Vasiliki Simaki

Lancaster University, Department of Linguistics ( email )

Lancaster
United Kingdom

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