In recent years many criticisms have been levelled against financial reporting. However, these criticisms may simply be the symptoms of a financial reporting expectations gap - comprised of the much discussed audit expectations gap as well as a financial statements expectations gap. Only once the limitations of the financial statements are recognised can the real debate regarding the corporate communication of performance and risk begin.
Following the collapse of Enron, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was rushed into law in the USA - its focus was on the strengthening corporate governance procedures to prevent fraud and mismanagement. However, the financial chaos in the banking sector (2007-2009) must raise questions over the success of Sarbanes-Oxley, and more significantly, over the whole idea of corporate governance. The lack of clarity over the objective of the financial statements cannot have helped matters.
Email: A.W.Higson@lboro.ac.uk - Telephone: 01509 22 3104