From Business Page to Front Page: Accounting in the Headlines

Research output: Working paper


Purpose- The purpose of this paper is to investigate how accounting information is used to report news. Specifically, the paper analyses newspaper headlines relating to two UK State supported banks - the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group - during and after the global financial crisis. Design/Methodology/approach – The paper draws its theoretical and analytical framework from Media Discourse (Fairclough, 1995) which considers the role of annual financial reporting information as part of a chain of communicative events culminating in newspaper headlines. Findings – Accounting information is in a strong position to enable headline critique of the banks’ performance post crisis. Yet tensions in the newspaper industry mean that accounting numbers may be selectively or partially represented in the Press. Media interests in representing political and economic elites, in entertaining readers and in communicating public sources of information in a suitable format for individuals helps explain how accounting results infiltrate newspaper headlines. Research Limitations/Implications – Newspaper data enables insight into two things. Firstly, the role of accounting information as a mechanism for constructing and representing corporations to readers. Secondly, to understand how a non ‘primary user’ (IASB, 2015) of financial reporting information reacts to publication of results. Originality/ Value –This paper builds upon the call to research the public face of accounting (Andon & Free, 2014) and analyses how the media use financial reporting information to advance the images of corporations in newspaper headlines.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019


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