Assurance of sustainability reports : impact on report users' confidence and perceptions of information credibility

Hodge, Kristy, Subramaniam, Nava and Stewart, Jenny 2009, Assurance of sustainability reports : impact on report users' confidence and perceptions of information credibility, Australian accounting review, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 178-194.

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Title Assurance of sustainability reports : impact on report users' confidence and perceptions of information credibility
Author(s) Hodge, Kristy
Subramaniam, Nava
Stewart, Jenny
Journal name Australian accounting review
Volume number 19
Issue number 3
Start page 178
End page 194
Total pages 17
Publisher Wiley Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of publication Richmond, Vic.
Publication date 2009
ISSN 1035-6908
1835-2561
Summary This study examines whether (1) assurance, (2) the level of assurance (reasonable vs limited) and (3) the type of assurance practitioner (accountant vs specialist consultant) affect users' perceptions of reliability of sustainability reports. Based on an experimental questionnaire, we find that the provision of assurance improves perceived reliability of the environmental and social information. There are no significant main effects for both the level of assurance and type of assurance practitioner. However, a significant interaction is found between these two experimental factors and report users' perceptions of reliability of such reports. More specifically, report users place more confidence in sustainability reports when the level of assurance provided is reasonable (that is, high but not absolute), and when such assurance is provided by a top tier accountancy firm, compared to when the assurance is provided by a specialist consultant. No such difference is found when the level of assurance provided is limited for either type of assurance practitioner group. The results of this study thus highlight the relevance of assurance for sustainability reporting.
Language eng
Field of Research 150106 Sustainability Accounting and Reporting
Socio Economic Objective 960609 Sustainability Indicators
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30028456

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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