Determinants of the choice of reporting the direct method or indirect method of cash flow from operating activities: Malaysian evidence
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Accounting, Finance and Economics
This study examines the incentives motivating listed companies in Malaysia to voluntarily choose the Direct Method over the Indirect Method in reporting cash flow from operating (CFO) activities in their 1997 annual financial reports following the adoption of the IAS 7 (Revised) Statement of Cash Flows (SCF), which was used prior to the current standard MASB No. 5 Cash Flow Statement promulgated by the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) in 1999. Adopting the signalling perspective, the general hypothesis of this study is that the choice of the Direct Method over the Indirect Method in reporting CFO activities is to maximize a firm’s value via engagement in quality signalling to the market. Specifically, it is hypothesised that such decision is influenced by the firm’s level of managerial efficiency, financial risk, size, its auditor, and industry membership. The sample consists of 231 firms listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange; 32 firms in the treatment group (Direct Method) and 199 firms in the control group (Indirect Method). Based on the results from the univariate and multivariate analyses, we found all variables to be in the hypothesised directions. However, we infer that the decision to choose the Direct Method for reporting CFO activities in SCF is significantly influenced by the firm’s level of managerial efficiency, size, and its auditor. Thus, there is support for the general hypothesis of maximization of the value of the firm via quality signalling. The authors gratefully appreciate the helpful comments of the discussant and workshop participants at the 11th Asian‐Pacific Conference on International Accounting.