Assessing Financial Reporting Quality of Listed Companies in Developing Countries: Evidence from Ghana
- Joseph Mbawuni
The adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Ghana is expected to improve the quality of financial reporting among companies in Ghana. This paper assesses the extent to which financial reports of companies listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) meet financial reporting quality (FRQ) dimensions of IFRS. It was a descriptive study that employed two experienced professional chartered accountants who practice as independent auditors to use FRQ criteria to assess financial reports of 20 purposively selected companies listed on GSE for 2012 and 2013. Given the high inter-rater reliability (r = .96, 95% C.I., p < .0001), the findings indicate that, overall, FRQ of the listed companies meet FRQ standards by 56.48%. Generally, the financial reports were 60.95% faithfully represented, 51.01% relevant, 50.10% understandable, 40.09% comparable and 19.75% timely audited (or 80.25% untimely). Fundamental FRQ characteristics were more prevalent than enhancing FRQ. Poorly rated FRQ areas were in the use of historical cost as measurement basis, no use of graphs and tables to clarify information, no inclusion of comprehensive glossary, ratios and index, no information on adjustment in past accounting figures for future decisions, and no comparison of current and previous accounting periods and with those of other firms. The study concludes that FRQ of the listed companies is moderate but needs considerable improvement. Implications to theory, practitioners, policy makers and industry regulators are discussed. This study fills the dearth of empirical research in FRQ in IFRS-compliance companies in Sub-Saharan Africa in general and Ghana in particular.
- Michael ZhangEditorial Assistant