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Research Seminar

Fri., Jan. 19, 2018 11:00 a.m.

Location: Education Building, Room 560

The Faculty of Business Administration hosts regular Research Seminar by faculty members (September through May).

The next research seminar is taking place:

Date:         Friday, January 19
Time:         11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Location:    Education Building, Room 560

Title: How to tell a good corporate story: corpus linguistic analysis of UK annual report narratives

Presenter: Jacqui Munro

In this presentation, Jacqui will discuss how discourse construction of high-quality annual report narratives differs from that of lower quality narratives. Her research contributes to the accounting literature in two main ways: (1) by using corpus linguistics, an inductive methodology, to expose the most salient aspects of high-quality narratives relative to their lower-quality counterparts; and (2) by compiling a novel sample of high-quality narratives from UK reporting awards that exemplify practitioner perceptions (rather than researcher perceptions) of high-quality.

Annual reports are the primary medium for corporations to communicate with investors and other stakeholders. Within annual reports, the front-end narratives provide information on corporate objectives, strategy, risks, and future prospects. As companies move away from traditional business models, corporate stakeholders are increasingly favouring pre-financial, future-oriented information over the traditional historical perspective. Pre-financial information is non-quantified disclosure on factors that are likely to impact future value creation and prospects. UK annual report narratives provide an ideal disclosure medium for pre-financial, future-oriented information because they are unregulated, thereby affording companies a high degree of flexibility over their structure and content.

She finds that high-quality narratives contain incrementally more forward-looking information and discussion on strategy, growth, challenges, and markets. Less emphasis is placed on technical and regulatory disclosures and corporate governance information. In terms of style and structure, high-quality narratives use more pronouns, provide more connectivity between sections, and use fewer grammatical and negation words. Collectively these results suggest that high-quality narratives are associated with more pre-financial disclosures and easier readability.