Do assurance and assurance providers enhance COVID-related disclosures in CSR reports? An examination in the UK context

Khaldoon Albitar, Habiba Al-Shaer, Mahmoud Elmarzouky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

nce is provided by Big 4 accountancy firms, the disclosure of COVID-related information is enhanced. Furthermore, large companies are more likely to disclose COVID-related information in their CSR reports that are externally assured from top-tier accountancy firms, suggesting that assurance could be a burden for smaller firms. Overall, the findings suggest that assurance on CSR reports provides an “insurance-like” protection that mitigates the risks and signals the management’s ethical behaviour during the pandemic.

Practical implications
The study approach helps to assess the level of corporate engagement with COVID-19 practices and the extent of related disclosures in CSR reports based on the COVID-19 Secure Guidelines published by the UK government. This helps to emphasise how companies engage and communicate COVID-19-related information to stakeholders through CSR reports and ensure a safe working environment during this pandemic. Managers will need to assess the costs and benefits of purchasing assurance on CSR disclosures, giving the ethical signal that assurance sends to the market and protection that it covers during the crisis.

Originality/value
This paper provides a shred of unique evidence of the impact of the existence of external assurance and the type of assurer on the disclosure of COVID-related information in CSR reports. To the best of authors’ knowledge, no study has yet investigated the corporate disclosure on an unforeseen event in CSR reports and the role of CSR assurance in this respect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-428
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Accounting Information Management
Volume29
Issue number3
Early online date19 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Assurance
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • Disclosure
  • COVID-19
  • Textual analysis

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