The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent of impression management in corporate annual reports in an Australian context. To contribute to this topic, a research question is investigated: do the most profitable Australian companies, assessed by percentage change in profit before tax, organise the chairmen’s statements of their corporate annual reports and disclose information in a way that is significantly different from those least profitable companies?

In terms of the methodology, this research has selected the top 50 most and least profitable companies in ASX 500 as at 30th June 2009 respectively. For reference and comparison purposes, another 50 companies were selected randomly from the rest of the population. Content analysis was applied.

The results of this study were indicative that chairmen’s letters from profitable and non-profitable Australian companies do demonstrate significantly different presentational preferences.