Does Coordinated Presentation Help Credit Analysts Identify Firm Characteristics?
38 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2010 Last revised: 13 May 2014
Date Written: July 26, 2010
We present 60 experienced credit analysts with financial information for two firms: one that mainly outsources production and one that does not. We find that analysts are better able to identify firm characteristics that make an outsourcer more creditworthy when those characteristics are presented in the same general section of a financial report; either on the face of the financial statements or in the footnotes. Such coordinated presentation reduces the cognitive load necessary for integrating the related information and forming a meaningful mental model of each firm. Our results suggest that if standard setters are going to require more detailed disclosures, coordinated presentation of related decision-useful information in the same section of a firm’s financial report may benefit users, regardless of whether the information is recognized on the face of the financial statements or disclosed in the notes. Supplemental analysis cautions standard setters, however, to consider whether requiring more detailed disclosures provides an incremental benefit over how firm’s disclose information today.
Keywords: Financial statement presentation, classification, disaggregation, transparency, proximity, experiment, standard setting
JEL Classification: C91, G12, G18, M41, M44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation