Intellectual capital disclosures by Indian and Australian information technology companies: A comparative analysis

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to investigate and compare the voluntary reporting of intellectual capital (IC) by the top 20 software and technology sector companies in a developing nation, India, and a developed nation, Australia. The paper aims to highlight the differences in IC disclosure practices of the companies operating in two different economies. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The study investigates the top 20 firms by market capitalisation listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange in India and the Australian Stock Exchange in Australia in the year 2007-2008. Using the content analysis method, the paper reviews the annual reports of these firms to determine IC disclosure trends in India and Australia. Statistical tools and graphs have been used to compare and contrast ICD disclosures in two countries. Findings ‐ The study has identified IC disclosure differences between Indian and Australian firms, and reports disclosures by Indian companies are on a higher scale than Australian Software and Technology Sector companies. However, Levels of voluntary IC disclosure are found to be low in both the nations and most of the disclosures are declarative in nature. Research limitations/implications ‐ This lack of consistency in reporting practices makes comparisons across countries difficult. The paper emphasises the need for a uniform and consistent framework for the reporting of intellectual capital items. Practical implications ‐ The results of this exploratory study on the knowledge based industrial sector can be used by researchers to explore different types of IC reporting initiatives pursued across specifically knowledge based industrial sectors. Originality/value ‐ This study offers insights into comparative trends in IC disclosure practices of software and technology sector companies operating in a developed and a developing country.

Keywords: Annual reports; Australia; Content analysis; Disclosure; India; Information technology; Intellectual capital

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 19, 2012

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