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会计专业Proposal范文

时间:2010-09-22 10:04:27 来源:www.ukassignment.org 作者:会计课程作业 点击:964

会计专业Proposal范文

Research on the Environmental Risk Disclosure of the corporation

1. Background of the research
Threats to the environment ranging from global warming to hurricanes, from deforestation to eco-system disruption, from terrorist attacks to industrial accidents, have been at the forefront of international debates and have also attracted a lot of public attention. According to scientists, increased industrialization has been a major contributor to the escalating environmental destruction witnessed today (Wikipedia, 2005). This has increased pressure on companies to be more responsible and accountable in the ways they operate. Thus, the basket of business risks to be managed is becoming more complex (Courtnage, 2001).

Due to increased pressure from governments and the market, coupled with the high costs (legal, economic and reputational) that result from environmental risks, businesses disclose, or are required to disclose, both actual and potential environmental risks arising from their operations and the measures they are taking to manage them. Transparency in environmental risk issues has become a critical component of corporate strategy (Anderson, 2002).

In endeavoring to attain their http://www.ukassignment.org/Accounting_Essay/strategic objectives, to minimize damage to the environment in the future, and to assist in correcting legacies from the past, many companies have decided to disclose their environmental risk and risk management information voluntarily. They do this to reassure investors and other stakeholders that the organization’s long term objectives remain unaltered (Andrea et al, 1995). Research on how companies disclose risk information in their annual reports has highlighted the inadequacy, the ambiguity, and the lack of quantification of voluntary risk information (Lajili and Zeghal, 2005).

Voluntary risk reporting has also been criticised for insufficient forward looking information, which would enable stakeholders to make an informed assessment of a company’s performance (Dobler, 2005). To address the shortcomings of voluntary risk reporting and hence reduce information asymmetries, there has been a call for more formalized and comprehensive risk disclosures. This includes the recommendation of an accounting standard on risk reporting (Linsley and Shrives, 2000, 2003). These suggestions have lead to a paradigm shift – risk disclosure should be made mandatory, rather than it being left as voluntary, so that the quantity and quality of risk information reported will come up to the required level.

Countries are responding to this shift by enacting laws and formulating accounting standards to make risk reporting mandatory. Led by Germany, which was a forerunner in mandating risk reports, other European countries are following suit. In the European Community, risk reporting regulations similar to those in Germany, have been imposed. It has been stated that ‘By 2005, firms and Groups have to disclose the principle (sic) risks and the uncertainties they face’ (Dobler, 2005:2). Legislation requiring UK companies to disclose risk related information with effect from 1 April 2005 has been enacted (Department of Trade and Industry, 2004). However, the move from voluntary to mandatory risk disclosure has led to a questioning of the effectiveness of mandatory requirements as instruments for increasing disclosure of companies’ risk information.#p#分页标题#e#

2. research questions and objects
The research question for this study is: ‘Do mandatory requirements improve the overall quantity, the nature and patterns of environmental risk disclosure over what would be achieved if this information was disclosed voluntarily?’
The objectives of this dissertation are:
• To review the related literature on environmental risk disclosure and subsequently formulate a set of hypotheses for testing the quantity and nature of environmental risk disclosure in different reporting regimes.
• To analyze the content of the data to determine what is disclosed in a manner consistent with the quality of the data.
• To prove or disprove this author’s hypothesis that companies in countries with mandatory risk reporting requirements disclose more environmental risk information than those disclosing voluntarily.
• To comment on the results, draw conclusions as appropriate, concede limitations and suggest ideas for improvement in the methods the companies used to disclose environmental risk information.
• To use the outcomes of the research to suggest areas of future research.


3. Methodology
3.1. Introduction
The research project involves measuring the extent of environmental risk disclosure in companies in a country with mandatory risk reporting requirements. The results are then compared with environmental risk disclosure level of a matched sample control group that discloses risk voluntarily. A control group is needed to compare the disclosure levels in the two environments. Most of the literature in this area of disclosure, have adopted a positivist methodology which uses a structured methodology and quantitative data.

3.2. Sampling procedure
The sample for this research was chosen from companies considered to have high environmental risks. To determine the environmental risky industries, the author compared sample of companies from Roberts (1992), and Hackston and Milne (1996) who classified their sample as high profile and low profile industries and samples from the study by Thompson (1998) which listed industries with high and low environmental risk (appendix D). The sample comprised of companies that appeared in both high profile and high environmental risk in the above studies.

It has been found that disclosure practices are influenced by industry and size (Buhr and Freedman, 1996). To control this, the author used a matched sample approach in testing the differences between Germany and UK environmental risk disclosures. Year 2004 was selected so as to concentrate on the most recent year of disclosure. A sample of 18 UK and Germany companies was chosen from the Amadeus database (financial information for top European companies). These companies satisfied two criteria: (1). The 2 digit U.S SIC industry codes had to be the same for pair companies. (2).They are large companies so that the impact of their activities on the environment affects a wide range of stakeholders. The size of companies was measured by sales turnover for the year ended 2004.#p#分页标题#e#
You must use the latest data, not a 4 year ago information. Also you may need to attach all the company annual reports, and other relative information.
Sample companies and industries in Germany and UK

Industries Germany UK
Airlines Lufthansa British Airways
Transport Fraport BAA
Electricity Energie Barden Scottish Power
Pharmaceuticals Bayer AstraZeneca
Chemical Beiresdorf Reckitt Benkiser
Oil and Gas Wintershall AG BG Group
Utilities RWE Centrica
Utilities EWE AG United  Utilities
Mining  MG technologies Rio Tinto
 
Adapted from AMADEUS, 2004
This web is no longer open to the public, you can get the company info from that data base anymore.
3.2. Research method
Previous studies examining disclosures in corporate annual reports have used self-constructed disclosure index based on a disclosure checklist (Roberts, 1991). The drawback of using this technique in this study is deciding which items to include in the checklist of environmental risk to determine the maximum number of items that could be disclosed http://www.ukassignment.org/Accounting_Essay/(Robert et al, 1998). There is also bias in the construction of the indices used to rank the disclosures leading to biased disclosure scores (Watson, 1998). The research technique that has therefore been adopted in this study is content analysis. 

According to Krippendorff (2004), the method involves coding qualitative and quantitative information into pre-defined categories so that a pattern can be derived in presenting and reporting that information. This methodology allows the presentation of the published information in a systematic, objective and reliable manner. This method has been used widely in accounting research mainly for examining social and environmental disclosures (Guthrie and Parker, 1990; Hackstone and Milne, 1996). Recently it has also been adopted in examining risk disclosures (Linsley and Shrives, 2005; Lajili and Zeghal, 2005). This method was adopted because environmental risk disclosure that are non financial in nature are in most cases disclosed qualitatively and using this method, the extent and volume of the disclosures will be established.

The data was subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS.  The Mann-Whitney was used test to determine significant differences between the environmental risk disclosures of Germany and those of UK, and Kruskal-Wallis analysis to determine significance differences between the disclosure categories within a country. A confidence level exhibited at p<0.05 was considered statistically significant. The rationale for choosing the non-parametric test (Mann-Whitney test and Kruskal- Wallis) and not the parametric test like t test was to avoid bias resulting from the assumption of normal distribution in the variables being tested (Sheskin, 1984).#p#分页标题#e#

4. the structure of the thesis

Chapter one is the introduction of the thesis. It introduces the background, objective and structure of the thesis.
Chapter two focuses on the theoretical framework of the study. The concept, nature and theory of environmental risk disclosure, its use and usefulness including risk disclosure regulations in the UK and Germany are explored. It reveals that although the legitimacy theory looks quite attractive in explaining risk disclosure information, it is not clear whether mandatory disclosure should improve the quantity and quality of such information in annual reports. The exploration of these concepts contributed to the development and refinement of the research hypothesis. 
Chapter three outlines the methodology with respect to sample selection, method of data collection (content analysis), data collection instruments, the justification of the research method is undertaken to present the argument and defend the methods adopted in this study.
Chapter four delivers the discussion and analysis of the study. It details the empirical analysis. The results are presented in order of the hypothesis formulated and the summary findings are revealed. Graphs are used to present the results and statistical analysis used where appropriate.
Chapter five presents the discussion of the study. It suggests that there is a high degree of support of the legitimacy theory in explaining variability of environmental risk disclosure in mandatory and voluntary risk environment.
Chapter six discusses and concludes the study. The recommendations are given in the light of findings on the study. It suggests that, for environmental risk disclosure, whether voluntary or mandatory, to be effective: (i) companies should desist from taking a one-size fit all approach to risk reporting rather a hybrid strategy is recommended to ensure innovations to disclose are not stifled; (ii) harmonization of the accounting standards on risk reporting to reduce competitive disadvantage incurred by companies disclosing; (iii) changing attitudes towards environmental risk issues through educating and training managers and (iv) governments provide incentives to encourage environmental risk reporting.

5. the significance of the research

Interest in environmental risk reduction and the disclosure of environmental risks by companies has gained currency in modern times. Findings of this study is likely to appeal to policy formulators and to standard setters, to directors, to management, to firms’ stakeholders as well as to academic researchers, who have expressed concern at the inadequacy of reporting environmental risk issues in corporate annual reports. More broadly this study will endeavour to situate this study within the existing body of knowledge; fill the literature gap, and also offer suggestions based on empirical evidence on the broadly debated issue of whether environmental risk should remain a voluntary matter or become something mandated by regulation.#p#分页标题#e#

 

 


Reference

Adams, C. (2002) ‘Internal Organisational Factors Influencing Corporate Social and Ethical Reporting Beyond Current Theorising.’ Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal 15(2) pp. 223-250.
Adams, C. (2004) ‘Social and Environmental Reporting Portrayal Gap’ Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal 8(1) pp 731-757
Adams, C. and Kuasirikun, N. (2000) ‘A comparative analysis of corporate reporting on ethical issues by UK and German chemical and pharmaceutical companies’ European Accounting Review 9(1) pp   53 -79
Anderson, D. (2002) ‘Environmental risk management: A critical part of corporate strategy’ Risk and Insurance (27) 2  pp152-180.

Andrea, B. Coulson, Dixon, R. (1995) ‘ Environmental risk and management strategy: the implications for financial institutions’  International Journal of Bank Marketing, 13(2) pp. 22-29.
Australian corporations’, Accounting and Business Research, 26 (3) , pp. 187-99.
Bebbington, J and Kirk, Elizabeth and Larrinaga, Carlos. (2003) ‘A regime theory perspective on regulating environmental reporting AccountAbility Quarterly, 21(1), pp. 15 - 19.
Beets, S. and Souther, C. Corporate Environmental Reports: The Need for Standards and an Environmental Assurance Service. Accounting Horizons 13(2) pp.129-145
Botosan, C. (1997) ‘Disclosure Level and Cost of Equity Capital’ Accounting Review 73(3) pp 323-349.
Botosan, C. A. and Plumlee, M. A. (2002) A Re-examination of Disclosure Level and the Expected Cost of Equity Capital, Journal of Accounting
Braendle, U. & Noll, J. (2005) ‘A fig leaf for the naked corporation’ Journal of Management and Governance 9 pp. 79-99.

Bryan, A and Bell, E. (2003) Business research methods. Oxford University Press.

Buhr, N. and Freedman, M. (1996) ‘A comparison of mandated and voluntary environmental disclosures: The case of Canada and the United states Critical Perspectives on Accounting, April, 1996

Burritt, L. and Welsh, S. (1997), ‘Australian Commonwealth entities: an analysis of their Commodity Price Movements, The Accounting Review, 77, pp. 343-377.

Campbell, D. (2002) Causes of variability in social disclosure in corporate reports, PhD thesis, Northumbria University 

Chan, J. and Welford, R. (2005), ‘Assessing Corporate Environmental Risk in China: An Evaluation of Reporting Activities of Hong Kong Listed Enterprises’ Corporate Social Responsibility, Management 12. pp 88-104.

Chess, C. (2001) ‘Organisational theory and the stages of risk communication’ Risk Analysis 21(1) pp.179-188

CICA (2004) ‘Financial Reporting Disclosures about Social Environmental and Ethical issues [Online]. Available at: http://www.nrteetrnee.ca/eng/programs/Current_Programs/Capital#p#分页标题#e#- Markets/Documents/CICA- (Accessed: 29/09/2005).
Cohen, A., Fenn, S. & Konar, S. (1997) ‘Environmental and Financial Performance: Are They Related?’ [ Online]. Available at: http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/  (Accessed: 24/09/05)
Cohen, M.(2002) ‘Transparency after 9/11: Balancing the “Right-to-Know” with the Need for Security’ [Online]. Available at: http://www.vanderbilt.edu  (Accessed: 23/08/2005).
Cormier, D. Gordon, I.; Magnan, M. (2004) ‘Corporate Environmental Disclosure: Contrasting Management’s Perceptions with Reality’ Journal of Business Ethics 49 pp.143-165.
Cournage, J. (2001) ‘Corporate environmental risk management “Doing business in a risky business” [Online]. Available at: http://www.comsa.org.za/ (Accessed: 03/08/2005).
Cowton, C.J. 1999. 'Playing by the rules: ethical criteria at an ethical investment fund'. Business Ethics. A European Review, 8 (1),pp.60 69.
Dickinson, G. (2001) ‘Enterprise Risk Management: Its Origin and Conceptual Foundation ‘The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance 26 (3) pp. 360 -366.

Freedman, A. Miles, S. (2000) ‘Socially responsible investments and corporate social and environmental reporting in the UK: An exploratory study’ British Accounting Review 33 pp.523-548.
Gibbins, M., Richardson, A.J. & Waterhouse, J. (1990) ‘The Management of Corporate Financial Disclosure:Oppurtunism, Policies, and Processes’ Journal of Accounting Research, http://www.ukassignment.org/Accounting_Essay/ Spring 28, pp.121-143
Hood, J. and  Nicholl, S. (2002) ‘The role of environmental risk management and reporting: an empirical analysis Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management. 4(1) pp. 1-29.

ICAEW (2002) No Surprises: Working for Better Risk Reporting (London: ICAEW).

Ingram, R. W. and Frazier, K. B. (1980) 'Environmental performance and corporate disclosures'. Journal of Accounting Research, (18) 2. pp 614-622
Linsmeier, T. , Thornton, D. and Venkatachalam, M. (2002) The Effect of Mandated Market Risk Disclosures on Trading Volume Sensitivity to Interest Rate, and commodity prices Accounting Review,. 77 ( 2), pp343-355.
Mallin, A. (2004) Corporate governance Oxford University Press.

Meek,G.; Roberts,C ;and Gray S (1995) ‘Factors Influencing Voluntary Annual Report Disclosure by US,UK and Continental European Multinational Corporations’ Journal of International Business Studies Third quarter pp, 555-557.

 



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