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Intellectual capital disclosure trends: Singapore and Sri Lanka

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to investigate the intellectual capital (IC) disclosure trends and disclosure category differences of top 20 listed firms in a developing nation, Sri Lanka, and moderately developed nation, Singapore. The paper aims to highlight the differences in IC disclosure practice between developing and developed nations. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The study investigates the top 20 firms by market capitalization listed on the Colombo stock exchange in 1998-2000. Using the content analysis method, it reviews the annual reports of these firms to determine IC disclosure trends in Sri Lanka. It then compares these findings with a similar unpublished study undertaken in Singapore during the same period. Findings ‐ The study identified IC disclosure differences between Sri Lankan and Singapore firms, and suggest reasons for differences from country perspectives. The paper highlights the need for a uniform methodology in intellectual disclosure framework to establish consistent disclosure practices. Practical implications ‐ This study highlights the need to establish a uniform methodology for financial disclosure under International Financial Reporting Standards that can mobilize globally uniform disclosure IC disclosure practices. Originality/value ‐ This study offers insights into comparative trends in IC disclosure practices between a moderately developed and a developing country.

Keywords: Developing countries; Intellectual capital; Singapore; Sri Lanka

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-10-17

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