Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Accounting and Finance


A considerable amount of research has been done with regard to classification and explanation of the diversity of accounting practices across countries. There is a need for an approach to accounting in the Third World that is different from that of the industrialized nations. The attempts to improve the accounting systems and standards in developing countries are inadequate. The purpose of this thesis is to measure the level of disclosure of accounting information in a developing country (Iran) and to determine whether some important corporate characteristics have any impact on the quality of disclosure in Iran.

Two approaches were used in this study for determining user groups' perceived importance of the selected information items through a structured questionnaire and defining the level of disclosure on corporate annual reports of Iranian companies through an unweighted disclosure index. The scoring sheet index was applied to 62 corporate annual reports for years ending between 20 March 1995 and 21 December 1996. Then the association between the extent of disclosure and various corporate characteristics were examined using a multiple linear regression model. Those characteristics were company size, the degree of government ownership, profitability, liquidity ratio, type of business, share price fluctuation, time lag, and audit firm.

The results show that there is consensus between institutional investors and bank investment officers about the perceived importance that they attached to sources of information. In regard to the degree of consensus among user groups, the results of an item-by-item examination show that combinations of bank loan officers, tax officers, and auditors with the other user groups have a weak level of consensus about 81 information items.

The average (mean) level of overall disclosure between sample companies was 62 per cent, with a range between 36 per cent and 72.5 per cent. The results also indicated that there is a high association between the actual disclosure of information items and the rankings of two groups of users (auditors and tax officers). The association between actual disclosure and the rankings of bank investment officers, bank loan officers, corporate investors, and stockbrokers was very low.

The analysis of the regression model showed that there is a significant association between the extent of disclosure and liquidity. The results suggest that audit and liquidity were both associated significantly with the extent of disclosure in corporate annual reports in Iran. The percentage of government ownership had less significant impact (p