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The Struggle for a Common Interim Reporting Frequency Regime in Europe

Benedikt Link

Accounting in Europe, 2012, vol. 9, issue 2, 191-226

Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of the Transparency Directive (TD) on interim reporting frequency in the European Union (EU). The TD defines the minimum content of annual and interim reports. In contrast to the USA, quarterly financial reporting is currently not mandatory in the EU. However, Member States and stock market operators can enact stricter local regulations. In October 2011, the Commission published a draft to modernize the TD proposing to abolish mandatory quarterly reporting across the EU. This surprising amendment is in contrast to the Commission's original intention. This article analyzes the reporting frequency regulation in the EU and the potential effect of abolishing mandatory quarterly reporting on the reporting frequency. I find that voluntary quarterly reporting is a function of firm, industry and country characteristics and, although managers are reluctant to change reporting frequency, abolishing mandatory quarterly reporting might lead to a reduction of quarterly reporting in several countries in the long run. This could have significant effects on, for instance, the information asymmetry in these countries that regulators should consider. On a more general note, given the variety of opinions on the ‘right’ interim reporting requirements in the EU, results from academic research could probably further facilitate a more fact-based debate on the issue and further research should investigate the capital market and real business effects of reporting frequency regulation in the specific EU context.

Date: 2012
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