The Management of Financial Disclosure on Corporate Websites: A Conceptual Model
43 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2004 Last revised: 27 Jul 2014
This paper addresses the impact of Internet financial reporting (IFR) on financial accounting theory by incorporating it in the general Gibbins, Richardson, and Waterhouse 1990 (GRW) disclosure-management framework. The GRW model assumes that the firm has a relatively stable process of disclosure management. This process varies between two positions: one, ritualistic, and the other one, opportunistic. These dimensions can coexist in the same firm but, on average, the policy of a firm will either be more ritualistic or opportunistic. Our survey of the financial information disclosed in traditional financial reporting (TFR) as compared to websites disclosures of a random sample of Canadian companies documents a significant difference between TFR and IFR as well as a wide variability among the sample firms in their use of IFR content, format and technology. We interpret this variability in the incremental difference of IFR over TFR, as an indication that a firm's ritualistic or opportunistic behaviour under IFR is not different from its behaviour under TFR. Thus, the adapted GRW (1990) conceptual model appears to have the potential to support future research in the management of financial disclosure on corporate websites.
Keywords: Internet reporting, paper based reporting, voluntary disclosure, content analysis
JEL Classification: G14, M41, M45, O33
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