This study provides evidence that hyperlinking a firm's audited financial statements to unaudited information in a web‐based environment leads investors to blend the unaudited information with the audited statements. I obtain evidence of this blending effect using an experiment where investors assessed a firm's earnings potential by evaluating the firm's audited financial statements and a subsequent optimistic unaudited letter to shareholders from the firm's management. Investors who viewed hyperlinked materials on the Web misclassified more unaudited information as audited and assessed the credibility of the unaudited information as higher than did investors who viewed hardcopy materials. Those investors who assessed the unaudited information as more credible also judged the firm's earnings potential to be higher. Notifying users with an “AUDITED/NOT AUDITED” label attenuated these effects. This evidence suggests that firms can influence financial report users' perceptions by hyperlinking unaudited information to information in their audited financial statements, and that a simple disclosure rule reduces this influence.
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Research Article| October 01 2001
Hyperlinking Unaudited Information to Audited Financial Statements: Effects on Investor Judgments
The Accounting Review (2001) 76 (4): 675–691.
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Frank D. Hodge; Hyperlinking Unaudited Information to Audited Financial Statements: Effects on Investor Judgments. The Accounting Review 1 October 2001; 76 (4): 675–691. doi: https://doi.org/10.2308/accr.2001.76.4.675
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