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Volume 17, 2017


A comparison of content analysis usage and text mining in CSR corporate disclosure
Selena Aureli
Published January 2017
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This paper investigates content analysis and text mining as two different research techniques largely used by scholars to perform the text analysis of company social and environmental reports. Its aim is to demonstrate that these techniques are not so irreconcilable as one might suppose, but can be applied to the same problem being addressed in certain circumstances. The paper starts with a presentation of the two research techniques, providing information about their origin, diffusion and fields of application in academia. It examines them with respect to the assumption each one holds about the nature of knowledge and continues with a discussion of the elements that display the differences and similarities between them. Subsequently, the paper presents an empirical application of the two techniques to the same research problem: the identification of possible changes in the amount of company disclosure after an industrial disaster. The focus is on a company‟s communication of economic, social and environmental goals and impacts usually included in sustainability reports. The two techniques are applied to the same set of company reports published by four large multinationals that went through the industrial disaster characterised by strong negative social and environmental consequences. Results from the trend analysis obtained by the application of the two techniques indicate that they are not such irreconcilable methods, but they may lead to different conclusions about a company‟s behaviour in trying to restore its corporate reputation damaged by the disaster. Thus, the two techniques should not be used to crosscheck results, although they provide similar output data.

A hybrid method for taxonomy creation
Vasundhara Chakraborty and Miklos Vasarhelyi
Published June 2017
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Automatic extraction of information from the footnotes of financial statements can be particularly challenging due to a wide variation in filing structure and terminologies. Standardized text and use of data tagging can facilitate this process. This paper: (i) proposes and demonstrates a new hybrid method of taxonomy creation, using historical data; (ii) compares the taxonomy structure using the new method, with that of the existing XBRL US GAAP taxonomy; (iii) shows evidence of structural differences between the official XBRL US GAAP taxonomy and the new hybrid taxonomy and (iv) demonstrates how the tool so developed could be used for more exploratory research. Comparison of this new structure with that of the existing XBRL taxonomy structure reveals that its creation from historical data provides a greater level of aggregation compared to the XBRL US GAAP taxonomy for Pension footnotes.

Human Capital Reporting Practices of German and American Companies
Michaela Bednárová, Roman Klimko and Patrik Klimko
Published June 2017
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Communication of social dimensions of the company plays a key role in the sustainable development of organizations. The aim of this empirical study is to analyze the extent to which German and American companies report on human capital indicators via their websites and the factors that can influence them. A content analysis of the annual sustainability reports of 60 companies listed in the DAX 30 and in the Fortune 500 (top 30 companies) was conducted. Our findings show that Europe`s leading position in sustainability reporting is undeniable, and on the other hand, online disclosure on human capital in the USA is still scarce and in its early stages. The factors influencing it are: sector in which the company operates and country where the company is headquartered. They also show that indicators such as number of employees, gender diversity of employees, and gender diversity of top employees are widely reported, while other indicators such as absenteeism, accidents and diseases at workplace, job stability and seniority are not used to a high extent.

Technology in Accounting: Social Media as Effective Platform for Financial Disclosures
Daniel H. Boylan and Cavan L. Boylan
Published July 2017
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Many people have embraced social media (SM), including both personal and professional uses. Corporations hoping to capitalize on this indoctrination are seeking to understand ways they can engage in SM. One possible idea is disseminating financial results. This topic emerged as a result of the recent decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission granting permission. A problem for company leadership is the lack of understanding of the potential SM has to enhance shareholder value. Little research exists today on the impact of a corporate policy to use social web to announce dividend or earnings statements on shareholder value. This research studied SM platforms for financial communications on stock price. By calculating cumulative abnormal returns, researchers learned the impact of SM for financial disclosures. The sample size included thirty-four publicly traded American financial institutions. This research seeks to advance understanding of financial statement dissemination using SM.

Financial Reporting Practices of Italian SMEs: Why Do They Disclose More?
Davide Panizzolo, Andrea Fradeani and Eldi Metushi
Published December 2017
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From reporting periods ending on or after 31 December 2014, Italian unlisted companies filing their financial statements under the national GAAP have to deposit them to the Business Register in fully XBRL format. In particular, for companies submitting their financial statements in the abbreviated form, the mandatory taxonomy has offered the option to use in their notes also the tables of the standard one: this means that they can voluntarily provide more information than that normally required by the law. In this paper, we investigate this phenomenon focusing on its level and analyzing the variables explaining the reasons that push Italian SMEs to use, in their abbreviated financial statements, non-compulsory tables that are proper of the standard ones. Based on a large sample of 8,738 elements, we report surprising results: more than 80% of the abbreviated financial statements include at least one table proper of the standard ones, while on average they include seven. In addition, when analyzing the determinants of this phenomenon we find that the only relevant variable explaining the number of optional tables included in the abbreviated financial statements is the software used for preparing them.

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