1.1 Background to the Study
Financial information quality is a key concern for all investors and potential investors
in any organization. As posited by Biddle et al. (2009), financial information quality is termed as the precision with which financial reporting conveys information about the firm‟s operations, in particular its expected cash flows that inform equity investors. Their definition is consistent with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 1 (1978), which states that one objective of financial reporting is to inform present and potential investors in making rational investment decisions and in assessing the expected firm cash flows. Literature on stewardship accounting posits that an accounting number is deemed value relevant if it has a significant association with equity market value (Barth, Beaver, & Landsman, 2001), and could be used to estimate future returns (Beaver, 1968). Thus, if reported earnings are considered by investors to be value relevant and useful in estimating future returns, market value of shares and earnings should normally be related.
Corporate scandals in organization in the last decade and the collapse of big firms in recent years most especially Enron, Tyco, HealthSouth, Parmalat, WorldCom and Xerox around the world have raised concerns about financial information quality which led to the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley Act which had a focus on the financial aspects of corporate governance.