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LEVEL OF INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL DISCLOSURE ACROSS INDIAN AND PAKISTANI COMPANIES.

Byline: WASIM UL REHMAN, HAFEEZ UR REHMAN AND HAFIZ GHULAM MUJADDAD

Abstract

The transition of economies from production to knowledge based has captivated the concentration of corporate practitioners. Theory of Resource Based View (RBV) argues that the future performance indicator for sustainable performance for any economy will no longer be physical and financial capital but that would be intangible assets, for instance, people and their knowledge. Corporate sector, now, is in an exploration of new accounting practices in terms of intangible assets reporting into their annual reports which may help them to follow the transition from financial capital to intellectual capital (IC) reporting. With this intent of the study, four leading companies from the sectors of automobiles, textiles and banking from two competing neighbouring countries, Pakistan and India, are being selected for the sample.

In this discourse, this study is undertaken to find out the relative level of IC recording and reporting. A list of 65 items of IC is identified and content analysis is used to demonstrate the level of IC disclosure in both countries. The results of the study postulate that IC reporting in two countries is very low for a selected period of 2012-2013. Out of 65 items of IC, only 3 to 4 common items are being reported by a few companies; thus, suggesting that corporate practitioners need to emphasize more rigorously towards level of reporting for achieving the competitive positioning and sustainable performance of firms.

Keywords: Intellectual capital reporting, Knowledge management, Intangible assets

I. INTRODUCTION

Undoubtedly, in knowledge oriented economies, intellectual capital (IC) disclosure, whether derived from employees, customer databases, brands, and structural operations attribute substantially to a firm's success for value creation (Burgman and Roos, 2004). IC reporting has achieved significant importance in terms of listed firms. The increasing trend of IC reporting emphasizes the organizations to disclose their intangible assets at their annual reports in view of a key enabler for sustainable performance and value creation (Edvinsson and Malone, 1997).

Initially, organizations are primarily evaluated based on their financial performance indicators because financial statements scarcely disclose the information about knowledge resources and intangible assets, which predominantly create a pertinent share for corporate value addition. Non- disclosure of IC or intangibles information asymmetry provide negative consequences to organization in terms of possible errors while evaluating risks and future actions of firms due to un-exploitation of resources. However, research indicates that information asymmetry can be reduced through proper IC reporting which can better forecast the risk exposure of a firm and market valuations (Dumay and Tull, 2007).

Practitioners are continuously endeavoring to report IC into their annual reports voluntarily in order to reduce the information asymmetry and create the transparency among managers and external stakeholders (de Pablos, 2002; Petty and Guthrie, 2000). Due to lack of well accepted accounting frameworks and formal definition of IC in literature, the IC disclosure remains very rare, limited and variable around the world. Further, broad spectrum of IC creates the problem for managers to capture and measure explicitly into their annual reports.

Besides that, research on IC has achieved a great importance in last few decades (Petty and Guthrie, 2000). Therefore, this phenomenon calls for concentration of business practitioners for recognizing this new resource known as intellectual capital such as business strategies, knowledge workers and corporate culture which has been rigorously debated in literature (Ghosh and Wu, 2007; Rashid et al., 2012; Li et al., 2008). However, given the lack of adequate accounting processes for measuring and reporting these resources, corporate managers have recently begun to voluntarily disclose information pertaining to them and how it contributes to the firms' value creation (Garcia-Meca and Martinez, 2005).

Prior research acknowledges that IC disclosure helps to capture the hidden value of intangibles which constitute a sustainable competitive advantage for a firm (Barney, 1991; Edvinsson and Malone, 1997). There is evidence that companies investing on intellectual capital frameworks and its disclosure are doing well to achieve sustainable performance (Meritum Project, 2002; Systematic, 2004). Studies also provide useful insights with respect to IC development stages more specifically application of IC on business and management models at different contexts (Tan et al., 2008).

Numerous studies conducted in the field of IC were based on country specific setting and cross sectional contexts [for example, Williams (2001) in UK; Bontis (2003) in Canada; Brennan (2001) in Ireland; Guthrie and Petty (2000) in Australia; Goh and Lim (2004) in Malaysia; Tan et al. (2008) in Singapore; Oliveras et al. (2008) in Spain; Abeysekera and Guthrie (2005) in Sri Lanka; Chen et al. (2005) in Taiwan; Kamath (2007, 2008) in India; Whiting and Miller (2008) and Wong and Gardner (2005) in New Zealand; Mavridis (2004) in Japan, etc.] These studies highlight the level of IC reporting in annual reports. However, there has been scarcity of efforts regarding IC reporting in selected two important south Asian countries. Therefore, this study views to emphasize level of IC reporting in selected sectors (i.e. automobiles, textiles and banking) of two countries to bridge this gap.

II. LITERATURE REVIEW

INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL

There is a convergence of opinions with respect to formal definition of IC. Practitioners and academicians have presented numerous definition of IC in last two decades. The term 'intellectual capital' refers to knowledge resources or intangible assets which can be put to create value and sustainable competitive advantage (Sveiby, 1997; Teece, 2002). It refers to integration of knowledge base capabilities which are crucial to pave the way in maintaining sustainable competitive positioning (Stewart and Ruckdeschel, 1998).

Initially, the IC was conceptualized to capture the difference between market and book value of assets (Stewart, 1997). Later on, it has been introduced as knowledge assets used to generate value for firms (Edvinsson and Malone, 1997). IC is referred as intangible assets difficult to capture completely at balance sheet in terms of intellectual material, knowledge, information and experience which warrant the sustainable performance of firm (Stewart and Ruckdeschel, 1998). It strengthens the business process capabilities to find the competitive advantage (Youndt et al., 2004). Such convergence of opinion agreed the scholars and practitioners to recognize IC as non-physical and non-monetary resource. It contributes not only to value creation but also in value extraction by knowledge embedded in individual minds, captured in organizations' databases, systems and business processes through proper reporting (Sullivan, 1999; Zharinova, 2011; Youndt et al., 2004).

Keeping that in view, research has considered different mechanisms and views to constitute what actually the intellectual capital is. However, the framework introduced by Sveiby (1997) is most robustly used by many researchers in their empirical and theoretical studies (e.g. Wong and Gardner, 2005; Brennan, 2001; Guthrie and Petty, 2000).

Sveiby's typology points out three integral parts of IC framework namely employee competency (i.e. human capital), internal structure (i.e. structural capital) and external structure (i.e. relational capital). Employees' competencies refer to individuals' skills, experience, education and training and development (Tan et al., 2008) which are not owned by companies and employees' take them at home after day end (de Pablos, 2002).

Internal structure refers to structural capital means: patents, intellectual property rights, information and communication technology (ICT), procedures and organizational culture and philosophy (Sveiby, 1997; Guthrie et al., 1999). These are the typical intangible resources of organizations for value creation developed by employees and they cannot take at home at day end (Roos et al., 1997; Svieby, 1997). External structure refers to relational capital or also called as strategic alliances of firm with internal and external stakeholders, e.g. customers, suppliers, government agencies. So far the intend of this study is concerned, the Sveiby's framework provides a meaningful foundation to meet the objective of study.

EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON IC

Predominately, prior research on IC was concerned with management and reporting mechanisms of IC (Yi and Davey, 2010). Based on content analysis, this study takes into account the Sveiby's mechanism of IC reporting in context of two big South Asian countries, i.e. India and Pakistan. The pioneered study on similarly research problem was conducted by Guthrie and Petty (2000). They used Sveiby's mechanism of 'Intangible Asset Monitor' to disclose the level of IC reporting in context of Australia. They employed the content analysis on annual reports and found no consistency with respect to level of IC disclosure except few firms in Australia. Later on research also found the similar results (Schneider and Samkin, 2008). Table 1 provides the preview of studies conducted on similar research.

III. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS

This study employs content analysis as primary research method. Guthrie et al. (2004) argue that this method attempts to identify qualitative and quantitative information in order to shape the pattern in the presentation of information. The objective of this study is to evaluate the prevailing practices and trends for reporting and disclosing intellectual capital along with all of its constituents in the leading companies of India and Pakistan. Therefore, this methodology is appropriate to review the information systematically and objectively (Krippendorff, 1980). Table 1 highlights the previous studies which robustly used this typology to analyze the extant of intended IC disclosure information.

TABLE 1 Key Components of Previous Studies

###Author(s)###Methodology###Purpose###Sample Size

Abeysekera###Content###To examine###30 publicly listed

and Guthrie###Analysis###the level of IC knowledge oriented

(2005)###disclosure###industries in Sri Lanka

Vergauwen###Content###Degree of IC###89 listed firms in

and Alem###Analysis###disclosure###Netherlands, Germany

(2005)###and France

Guthrie et al.###Content###To explore the###150 knowledge

(2006)###Analysis###level of IC###intensive industries in

###disclosure###Hong Kong and

###Australia

Shareef and###Content###To investigate###19 footballs clubs UK.

Davey (2006)###Analysis###the level of IC

###disclosure

Kamath###Content###To examine###30 knowledge driven

(2008)###Analysis###the level of IC industries in India

###disclosure

Oliveras et al.###Content###To inspect the###12 listed firms in Spain

(2008)###Analysis###level of IC

###disclosure

Whiting and###Content###To examine###70 publicly indexed

Miller (2008)###Analysis###the nature of###knowledge oriented

###IC disclosure###industries

The sample of the study consists of four leading companies of three pertinent sectors that are automobiles, textiles and banking sector from both India and Pakistan. The annual reports of selected companies were obtained for the year 2012-2013 from their official websites.

Initially, a list of items of IC was identified based on previous published literature (Wong and Gardner, 2005; Bozzolan et al., 2003; Abeysekera, 2007). Table 2 presents a list of 65 items of IC reporting. This list is categorized based on Sveiby's typology (i.e. human capital, internal and external structure). Results were tabulated on the basis of the number of companies disclosing these terms in their annual reports. Company-wise analysis, along with testing the degree of variance, has also been undertaken. The content-wise analysis is given in Table 2, company-wise analysis in Table 3 and the variation in IC disclosure in Table 4.

TABLE 2 List of Items for IC Disclosure

###Indian###Pakistani

S. No.###IC Disclosure Items

###Companies###Companies

1.###Business knowledge###NIL###NIL

2.###Business collaborations###NIL###NIL

3.###Brands and their description###NIL###NIL

4.###Brand valuation###NIL###NIL

5.###Company reputation###NIL###NIL

6.###Competitive intelligence programs###NIL###NIL

7.###Corporate learning###NIL###NIL

8.###Corporate culture###NIL###NIL

9.###Quality of corporate strategy###NIL###NIL

10.###Execution of corporate strategy###NIL###NIL

11.###Quality process###NIL###NIL

12.###Quality of compensation policies###NIL###NIL

13.###Cultural diversity###NIL###NIL

14.###Customer capital###NIL###NIL

15.###Customer knowledge###NIL###NIL

16.###Customer satisfaction###NIL###NIL

17.###Customer information###NIL###NIL

18.###No. of customer complaints###NIL###NIL

19.###Distribution network###NIL###NIL

20.###Economic value added###NIL###NIL

21.###Employee motivation###NIL###NIL

22.###Employee satisfaction###NIL###NIL

23.###Employee experience###NIL###NIL

24.###Employee compensation###NIL###NIL

25.###Ability to attract employee###NIL###NIL

26.###Employee technical know-how###3###NIL

27.###Employee knowledge###NIL###NIL

28.###Employee productivity###NIL###NIL

29.###Employee efficiency###NIL###NIL

30.###Employee skill###NIL###NIL

31.###Employee value###NIL###NIL

32.###Knowledge assets###NIL###NIL

33.###Expert teams###NIL###NIL

34.###Knowledge sharing###NIL###NIL

35.###Knowledge stock###NIL###NIL

36.###Management quality###NIL###NIL

37.###Management experience###NIL###NIL

38.###Management credibility###NIL###NIL

39.###Market share###NIL###NIL

40.###Market information###NIL###NIL

41.###Intangible assets###8###3

42.###Information systems###NIL###NIL

43.###Innovativeness###NIL###NIL

44.###Relational capital###NIL###NIL

45.###Intellectual material###NIL###NIL

46.###Intellectual property###NIL###NIL

47.###Intellectual resources###NIL###NIL

48.###Expert networks###NIL###NIL

49.###Human assets###NIL###NIL

50.###Human capital###NIL###1

51.###Human resource accounting###NIL###NIL

52.###Human value###NIL###NIL

53.###Organizational culture###NIL###NIL

54.###Organizational learning###NIL###NIL

55.###Structural capital###NIL###NIL

56.###Supplier knowledge###NIL###NIL

57.###Leadership skills###NIL###NIL

58.###Work knowledge###NIL###NIL

59.###Research activities###NIL###NIL

60.###Patents###NIL###NIL

61.###Copyrights###NIL###NIL

62.###Trademarks###NIL###NIL

63.###Computer software###4###2

64.###other rights###1###NIL

65.###Economic benefits###NIL###1

Table 2 and Figure 1 present the level and graphical presentation of IC reporting. Table 2 indicates that 6 items of IC out of 65 are found in the annual reports of the textile, automobile and banking sector of India and Pakistan. The term 'intangible assets' has the maximum number of disclosure by 8 companies of India and 3 companies of Pakistan followed by the disclosure of the term 'computer software' with 4 companies of India and 2 companies of Pakistan. The term 'employee technical know-how' has been disclosed by 3 companies of India and no Pakistani company has disclosed it.

Similarly, the terms 'human capital' and 'economic benefit' have been disclosed by only one company of Pakistan. The term 'knowledge management' which is supposed to be occupying an important place in knowledge driven sectors was not disclosed by any Indian or Pakistani company. Further, most of the terms relating to the employees and customers fail to find any place in the annual reports of the selected companies. Likewise, important constituents of IC reporting, e.g. internal capital, external capital and human capital also did not find any figure in the annual reports of selected sectors.

TABLE 3 Company Wise Analysis

###Frequency of IC

S. No.###List of Companies

###items Disclosed

###PAKISTAN

###1###Habib Bank Ltd.###NIL

###2###Allied Bank Ltd.###NIL

###3###Askari Bank Ltd.###NIL

###4###National Bank Ltd.###NIL

###5###Gull Ahmed Textile Ltd.###1

###6###Koh-e-Noor Textile Mills###NIL

###7###Nishat Mills Ltd.###NIL

###8###Ruby Textile Mills Ltd.###NIL

###9###Baluchistan Wheels Ltd.###1

###10###Agri-Autos Industries Ltd.###1

###11###Atlas Honda Ltd.###2

###12###Atlas Battery Ltd.###2

###INDIA

###1###ICIC Bank Ltd.###2

###2###DCB Bank Ltd.###NIL

###3###Standard Chartered Bank###2

###4###City Union Bank Ltd.###NIL

###5###Soma Textile Industries###2

###6###Maxwell Industries Ltd.###3

###7###Ruby Mills Ltd.###NIL

###8###Arrow Textiles Ltd.###1

###9###Force Motors###3

###10###Hindustan Motors###3

###11###Bajaj Auto Ltd.###3

###12###Atul Ltd.###NIL

Table 3 and Figure 2 present the sector wise level of IC disclosure in their annual reports. Table 3 indicates that banking sector of Pakistan which includes Habib Bank, Allied Bank, Askari Bank and National Bank has not even been disclosed a single item from a list of 65 items of IC reporting. It is worth mentioning that the banking sector of any country is one of the knowledge oriented sector of economy which contributes a lot in the development and sustainability of the economy. But surprisingly, selected banks of Pakistan failed to report any IC item in selected period. However, couple of banks like ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank of India are disclosing 2 items from the list of 65.

Nevertheless, in case of textile sector of Pakistan only Gul Ahmad textile is disclosing one item of IC out of list of 65 items. These are also surprising results because Pakistan has such a big textile sector which contributes a lot towards the economic growth of Pakistan in terms of export and foreign exchange, yet it failed to report significant IC items in its annual reports. However, in India the level of IC reporting is a little better than Pakistan. Maxwell industries Ltd is disclosing 3 items and Soma textile is disclosing 2 items and Arrow textile is disclosing 1 from a list of 65 items of a selected period.

Similarly, for automobile sector of Pakistan, Balochistan Wheels and Agri-Autos industries are disclosing one item each out of list of 65 in their annual reports. Whereas, Atlas Honda and Atlas Battery are disclosing 2 items each. However, Indian automobile companies are reporting IC components little better than Pakistan. Hindustan Motors, Bajaj Motors and Force Motors are reporting 3 items each out of the list of 65 items in their annual reports.

TABLE 4 Statistical Analysis of IC Items Covered by Both Countries

###Number of Disclosing Companies###2013-2014

###Number of Items Covered###India###Pakistan

0-6###0###0

6-12###0###0

12-18###0###0

18-24###0###0

24-30###1###0

30-36###0###0

36-42###1###1

42-48###0###0

48-54###0###1

54-60###0###0

60-66###2###2

Mean###48###54

Standard Deviation###15.59###9.95

Coefficient of Variation###32.48%###18.43%

Table 4 indicates that it is worth mentioning that the disclosed items have been shown at concentrated places in the annual reports and they are not scattered. The mean disclosure comes to be 48 items of India and 54 items of Pakistan. There is a variation of 15.59 items of India and 9.95 items of Pakistan on average as suggested by the value of standard deviation. A small standard deviation means that the values in a statistical data set are close to the mean of the data set, on average. The smaller the standard deviation, the data is more concentrated around the mean.

The coefficient of variation comes to be as low as 32.48% for India and 18.43% for Pakistan which indicates a small variation in item-wise disclosure in the annual reports of the companies. However, there is no specific reporting of intellectual capital as a special part or content of the annual report of India and Pakistan. Indian sectors are reporting intellectual capital little better than Pakistan. However, both the countries are not paying attention towards intellectual capital disclosure but if we do comparison, in India intellectual capital reporting is better than Pakistan.

IV. CONCLUSION

The exploratory research design of this study attempts to bridge the significant research gap in the context of the study. Results of the study imply that the level of IC reporting in selected sectors of Pakistan and India are very low. There are many contributing factors which might be the major causes for the low level of IC disclosure. First, the traditional accounting practices predominately focuses on tangible assets measurement and its' reporting. These practices do not focus on intangible assets reporting in a very precise and meaningful way except few intangible assets, e.g. goodwill patents or copyrights. Second, the lack of well-established IC reporting mechanisms might be the second major cause for low level of IC reporting.

The lack of well accepted IC reporting mechanisms brings out huge variability in IC disclosure. Finally, IC is the composition of knowledge resources, e.g. business knowledge, brands and their description, competitive intelligence programs and quality of corporate strategy etc. which provide the source of competitive advantage to firms (Barney, 1991; Youndt et al., 2004). Therefore, reluctance of not disclosing huge IC information in annual reports might be the cause of creating competitors yourself.

Although, results of the study postulate that extant of IC reporting in selected countries is very low which highlights the areas of improvement for IC reporting. Study suggests that all the internal, external and human capital attributes required significant improvement. Further, to apprehend the level of IC disclosure, future researchers need to increase the sample size by incorporating more IC-driven firms on a longitudinal research design. Nevertheless, future researchers would achieve better results by identifying more IC practices if they conduct their studies based on questionnaire surveys and mixed methods approaches.

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