Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the intellectual capital (IC) disclosure trends and disclosure category differences of top 20 listed firms in a developing nation, Sri Lanka, and moderately developed nation, Singapore. The paper aims to highlight the differences in IC disclosure practice between developing and developed nations.
Design/methodology/approach: The study investigates the top 20 firms by market capitalization listed on the Colombo stock exchange in 1998-2000. Using the content analysis method, it reviews the annual reports of these firms to determine IC disclosure trends in Sri Lanka. It then compares these findings with a similar unpublished study undertaken in Singapore during the same period.
Findings: The study identified IC disclosure differences between Sri Lankan and Singapore firms, and suggest reasons for differences from country perspectives. The paper highlights the need for a uniform methodology in intellectual disclosure framework to establish consistent disclosure practices.
Practical implications: This study highlights the need to establish a uniform methodology for financial disclosure under International Financial Reporting Standards that can mobilize globally uniform disclosure IC disclosure practices.
Originality/value: This study offers insights into comparative trends in IC disclosure practices between a moderately developed and a developing country.