In 2006, the International Accounting Standards Board issued a new standard, IFRS 8,
Operating Segments, to replace IAS 14R on the same subject, effective 2009. The authors
explore the effectiveness and usefulness of two aspects of reporting under IFRS 8 for
financial analysts—namely, the quantity and quality of segment reporting.
In 2006, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued a new standard, IFRS 8,
Operating Segments, to replace IAS 14R on the same subject, effective 2009. Under IFRS 8, an
operating segment can be viewed as a regularly reviewed business component of an entity and
economically similar units can be grouped together as one operating segment. The idea is to
differentiate between operating segments with varying risk and return characteristics that
lead to variability in segment-level profitability. Under the new standard, certain
requirements of quality and quantity for segment reporting have been set, and the authors
explore the usefulness of these two characteristics for financial analysts. The quantity of
segment reporting is measured as the number of segment-level line items. Intuitively, more
managerial discretion can be exercised over quality than quantity, and these areas of
discretion are associated with such proprietary concerns as market concentration and higher
levels of management ownership.
How Is This Research Useful to Practitioners?
Assessments of multisegment companies pose a challenge for financial analysts, who depend
heavily on the disclosures provided. According to the authors, the adoption of the
management approach in IFRS 8 has led, on average, to an increase in the number of segments
reported but to a decrease in the number of line items disclosed per segment. The authors
recommend, for the benefit of practitioners, that standard-setters review the reporting
format so that neither the quality nor the quantity of information is compromised.
Interestingly, the number of forecast errors for both underdisclosers and overdisclosers is
higher than that for the box-ticker group of companies (i.e., those that follow the standard
precisely). This finding can imply either a “disclosure overload” phenomenon or
analysts’ discounting the extra disclosure information as being of low quality.
Companies with overall good financial performance and those involved in mergers and
acquisitions are more likely to be in the higher-quality-information group than in the
average-quality-information group. The challenge appears to be how to ensure that
high-quality information is being provided in the disclosures.
How Did the Authors Conduct This Research?
The authors base this research on one-year information derived from a sample of 270
nonfinancial multisegment European firms in the STOXX Europe 600 Index as of 31 December
2009 that report nongeographic operating segments. They explore both dimensions of segment
reporting: quality and quantity.
By using multinomial logistic models in which companies fall into the underdiscloser or
overdiscloser group compared with the benchmark (i.e., middle) box-ticker group, the authors
examine the quantity issue. Similarly, they investigate measures of segment-reporting
quality by using multilogit analyses, classifying segment-reporting quality as high (High
Ql), low (Low Ql), or average (Avg Ql). The companies are then plotted along quantity and
quality dimensions to determine the accuracy of financial analysts’ earnings
The challenge of how to formulate the perfect standard that will address the issue of the
quality of disclosure information faced by financial analysts remains. This issue is global,
requiring the involvement of practitioners, who should offer their input to