Title

Combined assurance, firm reporting and market consequences: The mediating roles of Board monitoring intensity and integrated reporting quality

Author Identifiers

Augustine Donkor
ORCID: 0000-0002-6156-6396

Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Business & Law

First Advisor

Associate Professor Hadrian Geri Djajadikerta

Second Advisor

Dr Saiyidi Mat Roni

Abstract

There have been changes in corporate reporting practice to meet the changing needs of the business environment and stakeholders, which aimed to improve corporate reporting and capital market performance of firms. Integrated reporting (IR) has evolved as the current corporate reporting framework to overcome the existing limitations of corporate reporting and to promote the disclosure of forward-looking information. However, there are heightened concerns about the reliability of IR and appropriateness of existing assurance mechanisms for current trends in corporate reporting practice. Therefore, the combined assurance (CA) model has been introduced. However, the suitability and consequences (i.e., economic and reporting) of the CA model in the current reporting environment and the role of IR quality and board monitoring intensity (BMI) are rarely examined in the literature. Thus, this study relies on agency and stakeholder theories to empirically assess the economic (i.e., capital market liquidity performance) and reporting (i.e., reporting performance of sustainability [ESG] and financial reporting [FR] quality) consequences of CA quality and the mediating roles of BMI and IR quality.

This study observed a sample of 85 firms on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa between 2011 and 2017. The sample firms provided 595 firm-year observations. South Africa was selected for this study, as it is the only country that mandates IR and encourages the CA model.

CA and IR quality were assessed using content analysis. The least-square dummy variable (LSDV) variant of fixed effect (FE) estimating technique with PROCESS macro based on bootstrap confidence intervals was used to estimate the models. The study finds that CA quality is an appropriate assurance mechanism for forward-looking and narrative in nature reports (i.e., IR and ESG). Further, CA quality can reduce firms’ operational disruptions that support real earnings management and is an essential tool to improve capital market liquidity performance of firms. IR is also found to be a superior reporting mechanism to the existing standalone reporting frameworks (i.e., ESG and FR). Moreover, firms’ capital market liquidity and reporting performance are beneficiaries of IR quality. However, the study indicates that CA quality is not ideal for accrual earnings management, and BMI does not directly influence firms’ capital market liquidity performance. The findings generally reveal that BMI and IR quality mediates the relationship between firms’ reporting performance, capital market liquidity performance and CA quality.

The study findings make significant contributions to the ongoing debate of IR’s superiority and the suitability of the CA model in current corporate reporting practice. The finding that IR and CA are relevant to capital market liquidity and firm reporting performance supports the increasing interest in IR and CA globally. Hence, countries, regulatory bodies and standard setters will find the findings helpful in considering the mandatory adoption of IR and the CA model.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is embargoed until 13 July 2024. At the expiration of the embargo period, access to the thesis will be restricted to current ECU staff and students. Email queries to library@ecu.edu.au

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.

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