The predictive ability of corporate narrative disclosures

Document Type

Journal Article


Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Accounting, Finance and Economics




This article was originally published as: Smith, G. M., Ren, Y. , & Dong, Y. (2011). The predictive ability of corporate narrative disclosures. Asian Review of Accounting, 19(2), 157-170. Original article available here


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between narrative disclosures and corporate performance based on Australian evidence. In particular it builds a model which discriminates between good and poor performing companies based on their corporate narratives. Design/methodology/approach – A sample of Australian manufacturing companies is classified into two groups based on earnings per share (EPS) movement between 2008 and 2009. A content analysis of their discretionary narrative disclosures is used to classify and predict group membership. Findings – This study finds that the word-based variables based on discretionary disclosures are significantly correlated with corporate performance. Word-based variables can successfully classify companies between “good” performers and “poor” performers with an accuracy of 86 percent. Research limitations/implications – The relatively small sample size, for Australian manufacturing companies, limits both the predictive ability of the model and its generalisability elsewhere. Practical implications – The findings of the paper demonstrate that certain keywords, notably the use of “high/highest” and “dividends” are significantly and positively associated with superior performance. Originality/value – The study builds a classification model for continuing Australian companies, whereas prior research focuses on UK and US companies and is based on a healthy/failed distinction.




Link to publisher version (DOI)