Exploring the quality of corporate environmental reporting: Surveying Preparers’ and Users’ Perceptions

Akrum Helfaya (Corresponding Author), Mark Whittington, Chandana Alawattage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – This paper provides a multidimensional model for assessing the quality of corporate environmental reporting (CER) incorporating both preparer- and user-based views.
Design/methodology/approach – As opposed to frequently used researcher-chosen proxies, the authors used an online questionnaire asking preparers and users how they assess the quality of a company’s environmental report.
Findings – The analysis of the responses of 177 users and 86 preparers show that quantity was not perceived as the most significant element in determining quality. Besides quantity, the respondents also perceived information types, measures used, themes disclosed, adopting reporting guidelines, inclusion of assurance statement and the use of visual tools as significant dimensions/features of reporting quality.
Research limitations – The online questionnaire has some limitations, especially in terms of researcher being absent to clarify meanings and, hence, possibilities that respondents may misinterpret the questionnaire elements.
Practical implications – Considering that robust, reliable measurement of reporting quality is difficult, preparers, standard setters, and policy makers need multidimensional quality models that incorporate both users’ perceptions of quality and preparers’ pragmatic understanding of the quality delivery process. These will make the preparers informed of whether their disclosure may be falling short of users’ expectations.
Originality/value – Amid, increasing complexity of CER, the research contributes to the growing body of literature on assessing the quality of CER by developing a less subjective, multidimensional, preparer-user-based quality model. This innovative quality model goes beyond the traditional quality models, subjective author-based quality measures. Focusing on the three dimensions of reporting quality- content, credibility and communication- it also offers a high level resolution of meaning of CER quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-193
Number of pages31
JournalAccounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank the editor (Professor Lee Parker) and the anonymous reviewers of the journal for their constructive comments and valuable suggestions on earlier versions of the paper. The first author also acknowledges the financial support of Damanhour University, Egypt.


  • environmental reporting
  • reporting quality
  • content analysis
  • disclosure index
  • multidimensional quality model
  • CSR
  • Disclosure index
  • Multidimensional quality model
  • COST
  • OIL
  • Environmental reporting
  • Reporting quality
  • Content analysis


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