Linguistic Qualities of Financial Statements in Poland: Preparer and User Perspective
11 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2014
Date Written: September 29, 2014
The goal of this paper is to explore the use of narratives in financial statements prepared in the Polish language. We use genre analysis and compare financial statements with management reports to contrast the two genres and describe the interconnections between them. The paper contributes to a growing body of research concerning the communication strategies used by preparers, the interpretation strategies of the users and the effect of linguistic qualities on the value relevance of accounting numbers. Extant literature concerns only statements written in English languages, while the continental European languages remain unexplored. The study of Polish language communications is valuable, because Polish shares a number of characteristics with Russian, German, French and other continental languages. We focus on notes concerning goodwill impairment tests because the communication of judgments involved offers a challenge. We found that the factual style, avoidance of evaluative terms and deixis are the distinguishing characteristics of financial statements. In contrast, management reports contain a variety of strategies, including a liberal use of evaluation and deixis. Preparers of financial statements seem to be discouraged from discussing potentially significant, negative factors. The study of connections between the two reports shows, that the negative factors can be identified in the management reports, following hints left by the preparers, but this is possible only for professional users.
Keywords: financial information, financial statements, narrative reporting
JEL Classification: M40, M10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation