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Journal cover: Journal of Applied Accounting Research

Journal of Applied Accounting Research

ISSN: 0967-5426

Online from: 1999

Subject Area: Accounting and Finance

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Exploring the use and users of narrative reporting in the online annual report

Document Information:
Title:Exploring the use and users of narrative reporting in the online annual report
Author(s):N. Rowbottom, (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK), A. Lymer, (Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)
Citation:N. Rowbottom, A. Lymer, (2010) "Exploring the use and users of narrative reporting in the online annual report", Journal of Applied Accounting Research, Vol. 11 Iss: 2, pp.90 - 108
Keywords:Annual reports, Internet, Large enterprises, Narratives, Online reporting, United Kingdom
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09675421011069487 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the UK Economic and Social Science Research Council in undertaking this project: E-Society Research Programme grant number RES-335-25-0038.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore who uses narrative reporting information contained within online corporate annual reports and assess the relative use of different types of narrative information.

Design/methodology/approach – Web server logs were used to analyse over one million instances where information is successfully delivered to users of the corporate web sites of 15 FTSE 350 companies.

Findings – The most frequent users of the online annual report are, respectively, private individuals, those registered under internet service providers, employees and professional investors/creditors. The results suggest that those with greater experience and expertise in preparing and using financial accounts adopt different information preferences with respect to the online annual report. Although experienced users such as professional investors, creditors and accounting firms use the annual report to download predominantly detailed financial accounting data, the widespread availability and accessibility of the online annual report allows narratives to provide a source of general company information for employees and a wider stakeholder audience.

Originality/value – The paper presents the first large-scale survey into the use and users of online annual reports.

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