What is the meaning of better corporate financial reporting? How can financial reporting be improved? There are many claims of shortcomings of financial reporting. Conflicts among these claims point to the political elements of the problem inherent in collective choice in a society. Since “better” depends on the interest group whose perspective is chosen for analysis, politics lies at the heart of accounting policy. The set of possible means of arriving to any agreed upon meaning of “better” includes not only regulation, but also social norms and market competition. Judiciously combining all three approaches, instead of relying on any one alone, may help us improve financial reporting. This paper examines the meaning and means of better financial reporting.
Shyam Sunder is the James L. Frank Professor of Accounting, Economics, and Finance at the Yale School of Management; Professor in the Department of Economics; and Fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center. He is a world-renowned accounting theorist and experimental economist. His research contributions include financial reporting, information in security markets, statistical theory of valuation, and design of electronic markets. He is a pioneer in the fields of experimental finance and experimental macroeconomics. Dr. Sunder has won many awards for his research that includes six books and more than 200 articles in the leading journals of accounting, economics and finance, as well as in popular media. Dr. Sunder’s current research includes the problem of structuring U.S. and international accounting and auditing institutions to obtain a judicious and efficient balance between regulatory oversight and market competition. He is a past president of the American Accounting Association, former director of the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at Yale, honorary research director of Great Lakes Institute of Management in Chennai, and distinguished fellow of the Center for Study of Science and Technology Policy in Bengaluru.
CBS Department of Accounting and Auditing, professor Hans Frimor