Title: Internet Financial Reporting (IFR) in the GCC: extent and practices

Authors: Ehab K.A. Mohamed

Addresses: Department of Accounting & Financial Control, Faculty of Management Technology, German University in Cairo (GUC), New Cairo City – Main Entrance Al Tagamoa Al Khames, Egypt

Abstract: Internet Financial Reporting (IFR) is fast becoming the norm in most western countries; however, little is known about IFR practices in developing countries. This paper investigates the extent and variety of practices of IFR by companies listed on the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) in Oman and the Bahrain Stock Exchange (BSE) in Bahrain. This paper attempts to add to the literature on IFR by providing evidence of IFR practices in Oman and Bahrain. The 142 companies listed on the MSM and 51 companies listed on the BSE are investigated to ascertain whether they maintain websites and/or if these sites are being used for communicating financial information. Only 124 of the listed companies on both markets are found to operate websites, with even less (only 63) engaging in IFR. However, IFR is not restricted to the publication of annual financial statements only as the companies also disclose financial highlights through their websites. The results of this study indicate that IFR is still at an embryonic stage in Oman and Bahrain, and there are lots of opportunities and challenges for all stakeholder parties in corporate reporting.

Keywords: internet financial reporting; Middle East; world wide web; Gulf Cooperation Council; GCC; Oman; Kuwait; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; UAE; United Arab Emirates; developing countries; Muscat Securities Market; Bahrain Stock Exchange; corporate websites; financial information; annual financial statements; accounting; finance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAF.2010.031914

International Journal of Accounting and Finance, 2010 Vol.2 No.1, pp.113 - 129

Published online: 02 Mar 2010 *

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