Perceptions of Quality of Assurance Statements for Sustainability Reports

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how users perceive the quality of the assurance statement (AS) for sustainability reports (SR). As a complement, the paper also tests the validity of a previous model by evaluating whether the results of its statement of quality agree with the users' perceptions. Design/methodology/approach: A survey was conducted among 253 master-level business students and advanced undergraduate accounting students in two countries, Spain and the USA, as a proxy for users of SR. To capture their perceptions of quality, the participants were asked to evaluate a measure of quality based on previous research. A measure of quality developed previously was also tested. Findings: An agreement between the students' perception and the quality measure tested was found. This paper also encounters differences in perception between participants in the two countries studied as well as between accounting and non-accounting students. Practical implications: The results have implications for regulators. In fact, the reform of ISAE3000 (IFAC) deals with the reporting quality. Originality/value: This paper covers two gaps, quality of AS and business students' approach toward social responsibility, by looking at how users-students perceive AS quality. The validation of a model to assess the quality of SR adds value to the existing literature in the field.



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