Management Discussion and Analysis is a mandatory document under Italian law. In 2007, the Italian legislator issued Legislative Decree 32/2007, which broadened the information that firms have to provide in their MD&A. Italian companies have been required to prepare their MD&A according to these new requirements since the fiscal year 2008. The new art. 2428 of the Civil Code requires firms to discuss and analyze more topics, such as the principal risks and uncertainties that the company faces, financial and non-financial key performance indicators and information relating to environmental and personnel matters; however, the format for their presentation and the information to disclose for each topic continue to be deliberately not specified. This means that Italian firms can voluntarily decide both the information to disclose for each topic and how to present this information. As a consequence, it is possible to find great variety across firms and industries. To help firms in preparing their MD&A, in 2009 the Italian professional standard setter issued some more explicit guidance on the type of information a firm could discuss in its MD&A. This paper develops a framework for analyzing MD&A disclosures on the basis of the new legal requirements of art. 2428 of the Civil Code and the guidance issued by the Italian professional standard setter, and then investigates the content of the Italian companies’ MD&A disclosures provided for 2008, in order to verify the impact of new MD&A requirements on their disclosure behavior. Moreover, the paper investigates the relationship between the MD&A disclosures and properties of the analysts’ earnings forecasts, i.e. forecast accuracy and dispersion, in order to examine whether the information provided by Italian companies in their MD&A is useful for a specific category of financial statement users: financial analysts. The findings show that Italian companies responded in a positive way to the new legal requirements, but mainly with regard to the information concerning the review of the data contained in the financial statement. Moreover, the paper provides evidence that the level of MD&A disclosures is significantly and positively related to forecast accuracy. In particular, this result confirms that MD&A is an important determinant of the accuracy of analysts’ forecasts. The results enhance our understanding of the role of MD&A disclosures in the wide set of information that firms provide to financial statement users.

Efficacia della comunicazione economico-finanziaria nella relazione sulla gestione: un’analisi empirica sulle società quotate italiane

PISANO, SABRINA
2011

Abstract

Management Discussion and Analysis is a mandatory document under Italian law. In 2007, the Italian legislator issued Legislative Decree 32/2007, which broadened the information that firms have to provide in their MD&A. Italian companies have been required to prepare their MD&A according to these new requirements since the fiscal year 2008. The new art. 2428 of the Civil Code requires firms to discuss and analyze more topics, such as the principal risks and uncertainties that the company faces, financial and non-financial key performance indicators and information relating to environmental and personnel matters; however, the format for their presentation and the information to disclose for each topic continue to be deliberately not specified. This means that Italian firms can voluntarily decide both the information to disclose for each topic and how to present this information. As a consequence, it is possible to find great variety across firms and industries. To help firms in preparing their MD&A, in 2009 the Italian professional standard setter issued some more explicit guidance on the type of information a firm could discuss in its MD&A. This paper develops a framework for analyzing MD&A disclosures on the basis of the new legal requirements of art. 2428 of the Civil Code and the guidance issued by the Italian professional standard setter, and then investigates the content of the Italian companies’ MD&A disclosures provided for 2008, in order to verify the impact of new MD&A requirements on their disclosure behavior. Moreover, the paper investigates the relationship between the MD&A disclosures and properties of the analysts’ earnings forecasts, i.e. forecast accuracy and dispersion, in order to examine whether the information provided by Italian companies in their MD&A is useful for a specific category of financial statement users: financial analysts. The findings show that Italian companies responded in a positive way to the new legal requirements, but mainly with regard to the information concerning the review of the data contained in the financial statement. Moreover, the paper provides evidence that the level of MD&A disclosures is significantly and positively related to forecast accuracy. In particular, this result confirms that MD&A is an important determinant of the accuracy of analysts’ forecasts. The results enhance our understanding of the role of MD&A disclosures in the wide set of information that firms provide to financial statement users.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/39898
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