Accounting Legislation, Corporate Governance Code and Disclosure in Jordan: A Review
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Purpose The main aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the most influential economic changes and accounting legislation affecting financial reporting and disclosure practices in Jordan. It also provides an overview of disclosure studies conducted in Jordan covering the year(s) between 1986 and 2014 to investigate whether there is an improvement in disclosure practice in Jordan. This paper also investigates the most influential firm characteristics affecting disclosure practices in Jordan found in prior disclosure studies that were conducted in Jordan between 1986 and 2014. The paper also addresses the disclosure items required in Corporate Governance Codes that exist for listed shareholding companies, banks and insurance companies. Finally, the paper discusses the quality of accounting education in Jordan, as prior studies noted its impact on accounting practice. Design/methodology/approach Based on a review of prior disclosure studies conducted in Jordan between 1986 and 2014, this study compared the results of disclosure studies before and after 1998. In 1997, Jordan, as a result of economic changes, issued the Temporary Securities Law and its Directives of Disclosure, which came into effect in 1998. The law is considered as the turning point in the improvement of disclosure practice in Jordan. A trend line of disclosure practice is also used to investigate whether disclosure practice is improved after the issuance of this law. A descriptive analysis is also used to examine the factors affecting disclosure practice in Jordan. Findings Based on a review of prior disclosure studies, it was concluded that disclosure practices have improved overtime. It was also observed that that firm size as a factor has always affected the level of disclosure in Jordan and is followed by external auditing, while liquidity is found to have the least effect. It was concluded that economic changes, agreement with international organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), new regulations and financial market reforms have improved disclosure practice in Jordan. It was also found that there is a need for further studies in disclosure practice that are not sufficiently covered in Jordan. Originality/value The study is based on a review of disclosure studies conducted in Jordan between 1986 and 2014. We investigate whether mandatory, voluntary, corporate social and internet disclosure practice improved over the last three decades in Jordan. This study is the first to provide evidence on the improvement of disclosure practices based on a review of disclosure studies in Jordan. The paper is expected to be a reference for disclosure studies in developing countries, Jordan in particular, as it summarized and criticized the weaknesses on disclosure practice and accounting legislations in Jordan.