Companies have used accounting-related standards and regulations to disseminate useful information to stakeholders and decision-makers for the past century. These requirements can be categorized along a continuum from useful and important on one end (substantive) to completely irrelevant on the other (symbolic). This paper follows disclosures from 1904–1924 by Ford Motor Company made in compliance with a 1903 annual report law in the State of Michigan. Results show that the regulation was somewhat symbolic from the standpoint of the State of Michigan, as demonstrated by the lack of information required and the inability to make comparisons or verify the information. However, it was also somewhat substantive from the standpoint of members of the general public, as evidenced by newspaper reports of lawsuits during the time.

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