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1.1 Background of the Study

Accounting provides a vital service to broad and diverse users. Investors use financial accounting information for investment decisions; government agencies need it particularly for tax purposes while regulatory agencies use it to determine whether existing statutory pronouncements are complied with, among others (Kajola and Adedeji, 1999).  According to Meyer (2007:2), “accounting plays a significant role within the concept of generating and communicating wealth of companies”. Financial statements still remain the most important source of externally feasible information on companies.  Nevertheless, in the wake of the recent accounting scandals and economic meltdown where billions of naira of investment and retirement wealth have disappeared, the very integrity and survivability of the accounting information of this service has been called to question.

The stock market refers to public markets that exist for issuing, buying, and selling stocks that trade on a stock exchange or over-the-counter. Stocks, also known as equities, represent fractional ownership in a company, and the stock market is a place where investors can buy and sell ownership of such investible assets. An efficiently functioning stock market is considered critical to economic development, as it gives companies the ability to quickly access capital from the public.  The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) commenced operation in 1961with only 19 securities worth N80million. As at May 2009, the number of listed securities had increased to 294, made up of 86 Government Stocks with Industrial Loans Stocks and 208 Equity/ Ordinary Shares (including emerging market) with a total market capitalization of N9.45 trillion (The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Factbook, 2009).

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