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Accessibility of State Financial Information: Analysis of State MD&A Size, Readability, and Timeliness

Wie Yusuf, Meagan M. Jordan, Marina Saitgalina & Peter A. Jones
PAQ, Vol. 47 No. 4, 429-455 (2023)

As the summary narrative introducing the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) issued by state or local governments in the U.S., the Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) is intended to facilitate meaningful use by a broad audience. The MD&A serves as a transparency mechanism and must be accessible in terms of size, readability, and timeliness. We examine accessibility of MD&As issued by state governments in the U.S. using institutional, agency, and legitimacy theories to analyze how accessibility is related to internal (organizational) and external (environmental) factors. Our findings offer support for the importance of internal factors. The lack of support for institutional, agency, or legitimacy theory imply the lack of intentionality by states to go beyond required content to bolster accessibility for the non-expert public user.

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