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Extensible business reporting language: an interpretive investigation of the democratisation of financial reporting

Smith, Barry Peter (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Computer and telecommunications technologies are commonly thought to provide solutions to the quantitative and qualitative demands on modern financial reporting. Extensible Business Reporting Language (‘XBRL’) is an emergent technology that is purported to ‘democratise’ financial reporting. This investigation of whether XBRL democratises financial reporting is undertaken from a constructivist perspective. An interpretive research framework is regarded as appropriate to the current maturity XBRL. XBRL-knowledgeable individuals are asked whether they agree with the assertion that 'XBRL democratises financial reporting'. In addition, their perceptions of each of 'XBRL', 'financial reporting' and 'democratisation' are elicited in order to assess whether they have a common interpretation of the assertion. Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents profess to agree with the assertion, 13% explicitly disagree and 20% are non-committal. However, interpretation and analysis of each of the concepts reveal statistically significant relationships between responses to the assertion and interpretations of its constituent concepts. It is concluded that respondents are not agreeing and disagreeing about the same phenomena. This thesis illustrates that the rhetoric of technological determinism does not yet describe the reality of the relationship between financial reporting and XBRL. However, as XBRL matures, the approach adopted in this thesis may be re-applied to monitor perceptions of XBRL over time.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Alexander, David and Lymer, Andrew
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Department of Accounting and Finance, Birmingham Business School
Subjects:T Technology (General)
HG Finance
JA Political science (General)
HF5601 Accounting
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1531
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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