European Union Directive 51/2003 requires the publication of Financial Key Performance Indicators (FKPIs) in order to standardize this practice. We aim to test whether and to what extent the directive realizes the standardization of FKPIs. Because country factors are obstacles that the international standardization process intends to remove, we study their influence on disclosure practices in two very different countries in terms of cultural, economic, and regulation environments: Italy and the United Kingdom. Disclosure practices involve two dimensions: the quantity of indicators published and their quality. Quality is measured in terms of compliance with qualitative characteristics advocated by the IASB’s Framework. We select a representative sample of listed companies in both countries. The FKPI quantity and quality are hand collected from their 2008 annual reports. After controlling for leverage, industry, size, and profitability, we find that the number of indicators published in an annual report does not vary by country. The Directive may have helped this process. On the other hand, country factors drive the quality of FKPI communication. Thus, this finding suggests that standard setters and regulators should shift their attention to the quality aspects of FKPIs.
Keywords: Financial ratios, mandatory information, management commentary, information quality