How do people really use financial information? – economia

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Author: ICAEW Insights
Published: 09 Feb 2023
How much do professionals really know about what users of accounts want from financial information? That’s what a new study, part funded by ICAEW’s charitable trusts, is aiming to find out. 
Professor Annita Florou of Bocconi University, and Professor Martin Glaum from WHU-Otto Beisheim University want to interview a varied cross section of users of financial information to find out just how they use it.
The idea for this study came out of discussions during ICAEW workshops about different companies and stakeholders within companies having different needs and interests with regard to financial accounting and statements, Glaum explains. “For instance, publicly listed companies have a very different information environment compared with privately held companies. Even within privately held companies there are differences,” he says.
Florou and Glaum are looking to survey seven groups of ICAEW members as part of the study:
“We plan to look at how people actually use financial information, for what purposes they use it, how important it is for different tasks, and the kind of characteristics that users of financial information expect this information to have,” says Florou. “What do they want it to be, or what kind of attributes do they want it to have? We also want to look at people who actually prepare the statements to see whether they share these views and perceptions around the uses of financial information.” 
“In addition, we’ll also look at those whose job it is to safeguard the quality of the financial accounting process and the statements: the auditors. It’s a 360-degree approach,” adds Glaum. 
The research will involve a detailed telephone survey, carried out by research agency Kudos. This will involve specific questions about the use and importance of financial accounting information. The overall aim is to find new evidence on the use, functions and characteristics of financial information. In addition to these questions, they will drill into specifics around listed and non-listed companies, and large and small businesses. 
“We will talk to everybody involved with the financial accounting process,” adds Florou. “Because we differentiate on the one hand between listed and unlisted, and on the other hand between large and small, we will really get into the detail and complexity of how financial information is used at all levels. The really interesting part of this study will be to tease out differences between the different types of companies and also the different stakeholders. That’s what makes this research unique.”
Any members within the seven categories of interest to the study can get involved by contacting or Anyone taking part in the study needs to complete a consent form, available to download here.
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