South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences
On-line version ISSN 1015-8812
OBERHOLSTER, Johan GI; KOORNHOF, Carolina and VORSTER, Quintus. Individual shareholders' understanding of the content of interim reports of South African listed retail companies. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2015, vol.18, n.2, pp. 177-189. ISSN 1015-8812.
A number of studies conducted, and reports published, by international and local accounting bodies have found that the proliferation of disclosures in financial reports has hampered users' understanding of these reports. The reports by accounting bodies also indicate that these users prefer more concise financial reports. These findings, in conjunction with a dearth of recent questionnaire-based research on whether individual shareholders understand the content of financial reports, resulted in this study on whether individual shareholders understand the content of interim reports. The study provides empirical proof that a sound knowledge of business, accounting and economic matters is a prerequisite for understanding interim reports in the case of individual shareholders. The results of the study indicate that individual shareholders have a limited understanding of the content of interim reports as a whole, and that a good knowledge of business and economic matters and of accounting results in an improved understanding of the content of interim reports. In particular, specialisation in accounting in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, professional qualifications, and work experience in the financial field improve the understanding of individual shareholders.
Keywords : individual shareholders; interim reports; qualitative characteristics; understanding; understandability.