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An Investigation of the Integrity of Internet Financial Reporting

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Author(s): Barry Smith | Aileen Pierce

Journal: International Journal of Digital Accounting Research
ISSN 1577-8517

Volume: 5;
Start page: 47;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Financial reporting | Internet | corporate governance | security | integrity

ABSTRACT
Since the mid 1990s, large companies have increasingly used the Internet to disclose business and financial information. Internet technology is regularly claimed to facilitate greater relevance and timeliness of business information. The integrity of information disclosed on corporate websites has, however, been subject to comparatively little scrutiny. This study focuses on the integrity of Internet Financial Reporting (IFR) by reference to the adequacy of underlying corporate governance procedures. Using a sample of 100 large European companies, a questionnaire survey was used to identify whether or not governance procedures that specifically address the distinguishing features of web-based financial reporting are used by large companies. The results confirm the trend identified in prior research of increasing Internet usage to replicate paper-based financial information. Responses to the questionnaire also suggest that concerns about the integrity of IFR are justified. Erroneous assumptions and assertions by respondents regarding the security of IFR, in addition to knowledge of work undertaken by external auditors indicate limited engagement with IFR by management of large European companies. The conclusion of this study is that the governance framework surrounding IFR has received insufficient managerial attention.
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