CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Easwar Nyshadham

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Committee Member

Souren Paul

Abstract

Reporting systems can provide transparency into financial markets necessary for a sustainable, prosperous global economy. The most widely used global platform for exchanging electronic information about companies to regulatory bodies is XBRL. Standards for this platform are in the process of becoming legally harmonized, but not all countries are mandating e-business reporting. A harmonized global standard for business reporting aligns practices between countries, while recognizing the need for flexibility within each social system and government, whereas international law would establish one standard for all. The research shows that goal of creating transparent global financial information in aggregate searchable form for the public remains elusive under the harmonized approach.

The research explores the standardization process at the country level using a grounded theory approach in the G20 countries. The problem of a not having a global standard is framed in the financial reporting dimensions of Law, Accounting Standards, Information Standards, and Assurance Standards, which are existing standards integral to creating high quality transparent financial information. The dimensions exist to some extent in each country, and are in process of being harmonized. The research shows that current legal mandates for the XBRL standard impact the number of firms filing in XBRL to regulators. However, problems with data quality and data assurance have not been addressed with the current legislative initiatives. There is supply of data, but no public demand due to quality issues. There are three levels in the process where data alignment is needed for interoperability: taxonomy use must be consistent, taxonomy structure must be the same, and agreed upon minimum content must be useful for analysis. Currently, data sets between countries are not interoperable or comparable for aggregation due to local adoptions of XBRL taxonomies. Legal mandates alone have not produced quality electronic financial information. Additionally, accounting and assurance standards are not completely aligned. The contributions of this paper provide an understanding of how global standards are being harmonized in the G20 countries based on the common value of financial information transparency in e-business reporting.

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