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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Corporate Sustainability Reporting and Stakeholder Concerns:...
    research summary posted June 22, 2017 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 14.0 Corporate Matters, 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    Corporate Sustainability Reporting and Stakeholder Concerns: Is There a Disconnect?
    Practical Implications:

    Sustainability is important to the accounting industry. Accountants have a responsibility to help integrate sustainability into areas such as budgets, resource allocations, and capital expenditure decisions. The evidence from this study indicates what CS activities consumer find important. Management can use this information in developing their business strategies related to CS. 

    Citation:

    Bradford, Marianne, J. B. Earp, D. S. Showalter, and P. F. Williams. 2017. “Corporate Sustainability Reporting and Stakeholder Concerns: Is There a Disconnect?”. Accounting Horizons. 31 (1): 83-102.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    CSR and Assurance Services: A Research Agenda.
    research summary posted July 24, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    CSR and Assurance Services: A Research Agenda.
    Practical Implications:

    The authors have attempted to highlight the vast research opportunities in the CSR report assurance context. This is a crucial area where auditors and auditing research can help develop a tipping point where it may be to a company’s advantage to engage in appropriate CSR behavior and to document this behavior in a report that will receive the rigorous scrutiny of quality assurance providers.

    Citation:

    Cohen, J. R., & Simnett, R. 2015. CSR and Assurance Services: A Research Agenda. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 34 (1): 59-74.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Impact of Assurance and Assurer’s Professional Affiliation o...
    research summary posted December 3, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 12.0 Accountants’ Reports and Reporting, 12.07 Attestation Services, 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    Impact of Assurance and Assurer’s Professional Affiliation on Financial Analysts’ Assessment of Credibility of Corporate Social Responsibility Information
    Practical Implications:

    The findings of this study provide evidence on the benefits of assurance of CSR reports in enhancing credibility. Practice indicates that around the world about 50% of organisations have their stand-alone CSR reports independently assured, and that about 50% of these are assured by members of the accounting profession. This research shows that financial analysts in the U.K., U.S. and Australia will perceive an enhanced credibility of these reports when they are independently assured. However, the evidence also indicates that such benefits are context-specific. Assurance will add more credibility to CSR reports for companies that are facing more significant CSR issues. With regards choice of assurance provider, financial analysts in Australia and U.K. perceive improved credibility associated with independent assurance whether or not the assurer came from the accounting profession. In the U.S. it was only assurance from professional accountants that leads to significantly higher perceived CSR report credibility. This will have implications for organisations in their decision to assure and choice of assurance provider. From the assurance firm’s perspective, in countries where CSR assurance is commonly provided by both accounting profession and other providers outside of the profession, accounting firms may wish to more clearly articulate the benefits of their assurance services compared with those from other assurance providers.

    For more information on this study, please contact Roger Simnett.

    Citation:

    Pflugrath, G., P. Roebuck, and R. Simnett. 2011. Impact of assurance and assurer's professional affiliation on financial analysts' assessment of credibility of corporate social responsibility information. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 30 (3): 239-254.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Internal Audit's Role in GHG Emissions and Energy...
    research summary posted July 23, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    Internal Audit's Role in GHG Emissions and Energy Reporting: Evidence from Audit Committees, Senior Accountants, and Internal Auditors.
    Practical Implications:

    The focus on the insights of audit committee members and senior accountants concerning the role of internal auditors in their work in areas of sustainability reporting, allows the authors to inform the broader internal audit literature on the role of internal auditors as a corporate governance resource. The interviewees indicated that the internal audit teams were already multidisciplinary and that this would increase in the future. Insights from these senior practitioners also inform potential research questions in audit judgment and decision-making (JDM) research.

    Citation:

    Trotman, A. J., & Trotman, K. T. 2015. Internal Audit's Role in GHG Emissions and Energy Reporting: Evidence from Audit Committees, Senior Accountants, and Internal Auditors. Auditing: A Journal Of Practice & Theory 34 (1): 199-230.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Seeking legitimacy for new assurance forms: The case of...
    research summary posted October 10, 2013 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 01.0 Standard Setting, 01.01 Changes in Reporting Formats, 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    Seeking legitimacy for new assurance forms: The case of assurance on sustainability reporting
    Practical Implications:

    Corporate sustainability reporting is a growing area due to increased political and social focus on corporations’ actions.  With the development of this reporting area comes the development of the associated assurance service.  Without legitimate assurance, these sustainability reports lack reliability and credibility.  Prior research has not thoroughly examined how audit firms acquire and obtain legitimacy when developing a new area of their professional practice.  This study shows the different strategies employed by audit firms to secure legitimacy with key internal and external stakeholders as it relates to sustainability reporting.   

    For more information on this study, please contact Brendan O’Dwyer.
     

    Citation:

    O’Dwyer, B., D. Owen, and J. Unerman. 2011. Seeking legitimacy for new assurance forms: The case of assurance on sustainability reporting. Accounting, Organizations and Society 36: 31-52.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Association between Sustainability Governance...
    research summary posted July 24, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    The Association between Sustainability Governance Characteristics and the Assurance of Corporate Sustainability Reports.
    Practical Implications:

    In order to develop future regulation, policy-makers rely on firm-specific sustainability information to analyze current corporate activity trends. The findings may help to inform regulators of the trends in SRA among U.S. firms and on the impact governance has on SRA adoption. This may assist policy-makers in influencing increased SRA without costly regulation. The findings may also inform stakeholders demanding reliable sustainability information, such as investors, rating agencies, NGOs, and customers, among others. Understanding the impact of the corporate governance mosaic on SRA may inform stakeholders on how to effectively influence SRA adoption or foster reliable sustainability reporting practices.

    Citation:

    Peters, G. F., & Romi, A. M. 2015. The Association between Sustainability Governance Characteristics and the Assurance of Corporate Sustainability Reports. Auditing: A Journal Of Practice & Theory 34 (1): 163-198.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Impact of Strategic Relevance and Assurance of...
    research summary posted July 27, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    The Impact of Strategic Relevance and Assurance of Sustainability Indicators on Investors' Decisions.
    Practical Implications:

    This study contributes to understanding the interaction between strategy information and ESG information on investment decisions, and provides support for the argument that investors can benefit from the enhanced connections between strategy and ESG information that form the underlying basis of Integrated Reporting. Importantly, the results document that investors' perception of strategic relevance is a driver of their investment decisions. This study suggests that nonprofessional investors’ responses to sustainability disclosure are affected by the strategic relevance of the reported information. The assurance affects investment decisions by increasing the perceived importance of the sustainability information suggests that assurance has a signaling effect, and highlights the importance of making independent assurance public to investors.

    Citation:

    Cheng, M. M., Green, W. J., & Chi Wa Ko, J. 2015. The Impact of Strategic Relevance and Assurance of Sustainability Indicators on Investors' Decisions. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 34 (1): 131-162.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)...
    research summary posted July 27, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 14.0 Corporate Matters, 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Assurance in Investors' Judgments When Managerial Pay is Explicitly Tied to CSR Performance.
    Practical Implications:

    This study provides support for the expansion of CSR assurance services, the disclosures of benchmarked CSR investment levels, and the potential investor assessments of such information when integrated with governance information. If investors concerned about “greenwashing” in the presence of pay-for-CSR-performance can reasonably rely upon these CSR disclosure factors, they may become less skeptical about using this type of nonfinancial information in their investment decisions. This in turn may lead firms to attract and retain those managers who are willing to substantively invest in CSR activities, signal the firm’s CSR commitment level, and ultimately add to the firm’s long-term value.

    Citation:

    Brown-Liburd, H., & Zamora, V. L. 2015. The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Assurance in Investors' Judgments When Managerial Pay is Explicitly Tied to CSR Performance. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 34 (1): 75-96.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Understanding and Contributing to the Enigma of Corporate...
    research summary posted July 27, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 15.0 International Matters, 15.05 Sustainability Services 
    Title:
    Understanding and Contributing to the Enigma of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Assurance in the United States.
    Practical Implications:

    The results indicate that many companies that currently issue unassured CSR reports could economically benefit from obtaining CSRA through a reduction in their cost-of-capital and also benefit from reductions in analyst forecast errors and dispersion. As such, CSRA providers, especially accounting firms, need to improve their communication to convey these benefits to prospective clients. The capital markets appear to discount and not value CSRA when it is likely being used for impression management/greenwashing. Thus, the more important public policy issue is how to curb instances of CSRA being used for impression management/greenwashing purposes. For example, public policy makers may want to consider the merits of regulating CSRA providers where there are severe consequences for not identifying inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading CSR reporting.

    Citation:

    Casey, R. J., & Grenier, J. H. 2015. Understanding and Contributing to the Enigma of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Assurance in the United States. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 34 (1): 97-130.

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