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Volume 22, 2022


The evolution and diffusion of the standard business reporting (SBR) initiatives: Evidence from UK small businesses
Said M. Alkhatib and Esraa S. Alkhatib
Published January 2022
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Few studies have comprehensively described Standard Business Reporting (SBR) as a policy-driven initiative based on inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language (iXBRL) aimed at reducing the administrative burden of statutory business reporting. The SBR term is still difficult to understand even by the countries where it has been implemented. The objective of this study is twofold. First, it describes in detail the evolution of the SBR initiatives in the UK. Second, it investigates the drivers and inhibitors of the take-up of the SBR initiative by small businesses based on the technology, organization, and environment (TOE) framework. It draws on contextual data and 23 interviews with participants involved in the development of these initiatives. The findings show that the following are perceived as drivers of the take-up of the SBR initiatives by small private companies: the relative advantages of using WebFiling, commercial filing software, and the digital services, the organizational readiness of accountant, and the influence of commercial filing software. However, we find no evidence that the relative advantage of using the joint-filing facility via iXBRL was perceived as a driver of the take-up of this innovation. The findings indicate that the absence of critical mass among government agencies inhibits its diffusion. This study provides specific implications to small businesses, the accountants working in small businesses and practice, government agencies in the UK, and other jurisdictions embarking on the SBR initiatives for further developments to reduce the reporting burden on smaller entities.

Understanding the intention to adopt cloud-based accounting information system in jordanian SMEs
Abdalwali Lutfi
Published March 2022
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The Information Technology (IT) revolution that led to the development of cloud computing services and systems has brought numerous benefits to end users handling business through the Internet, particularly in the field of accounting information systems (AIS). Cloud-based accounting information systems (CB-AIS) enable firms to substantially reduce their investment in IT and have flexible access to an enormous group of current and scalable resources. CB-AIS enables small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to undertake basic bookkeeping responsibilities themselves instead of paying external auditors for the same services. In Jordan, however, current businesses are still in the infancy stage when it comes to CB-AIS adoption. Therefore, this study applied the Technology, Organization, and Environment model to examine CB-AIS adoption among SMEs in Jordan. Data collection was achieved using a structured survey questionnaire collected from 156 owners/managers of SMEs in Jordan through online means. The proposed research framework comprises six factors that influence intention to adopt CB-AIS (IACB-AIS). Based on the findings, the proposed hypotheses were supported in that the factors positively and significantly affect the IACB-AIS of SMEs in Jordan. Through examining an actual IACB-AIS case and highlighting the importance of its application, the study and its findings are expected to contribute to decision-makers and practitioners in the IT field.

Integrated reporting assessment from the user´s perspective using the integrated report quality index
Roman Klimko and Zuzana Juhászová
Published May 2022
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The last decades have seen a shift in the corporate reporting model, moving from financial disclosure to the triple bottom line approach, including information about financial, environmental and social capital, also referred to as a sustainability reporting. These changes have been driven by stakeholder pressure on corporate transparency and emerging disclosure regulation. The International Integrated Reporting Council aimed to add value to sustainability reporting by developing integrated reporting (IR), seeking not only to combine financial and non-financial reporting but to show connectivity between them and provide a clear picture of how the company can create and sustain value over the short, medium and long term. This approach has been followed by a great number of corporations since its initiation in 2010. Given that the IR framework is rather principle-based, the quality of such reports differs from company to company. The main objective of this paper is to assess the quality of IR from the perspective of a user. We analyse companies listed in IBEX 35 and compare the evolution of the IR quality in 2016 and 2019. To do so, an index was developed measuring the quality of the integrated report based on elements such as visuality, navigability, technological elements and business model description. Our findings show that while, in 2016, companies operating in critical sectors tended to have a generally higher IR quality, there were no significant differences in 2019 between companies operating in critical and non-critical sectors, and the general quality has decreased in favour of the quantity of information.

The impact of gender diversity on digital reporting in the USA
Esam Shehadeh, Hani Alkayed and Doaa Aly
Published July 2022
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This study aims to examine the impact of gender diversity on the digital reporting practices of non-financial U.S. firms listed on the S&P 500 index. Our results confirm the proposed hypothesis, indicating that the presence of female board members improves the levels of digital reporting. This could relate to the thought that gender diversity may correspond to more extensive discussions within the boardroom, which leads to better-informed decisions based on greater levels of information exchange both between the board and other stakeholders and amongst board members themselves. Our findings provide evidence for policy makers that gender diversity enhances online disclosure and thus, the transparency of the firm. The findings can be used, also, by corporate governance institutions to raise awareness of the advantages of having female members on the board. Our study contributes to the body of literature on both gender diversity and corporate online disclosure by providing new evidence that gender diversity on the board can improve digital reporting.

Ledger to ledger: off- and on-chain auditing of stablecoin
Rubens Moura de Carvalho, Helena Coelho Inácio and Rui Pedro Figueiredo Marques
Published September 2022
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To assess the financial statements of companies that invest in stablecoin, a digital representation of a fiat currency managed and backed by a blockchain, the auditor must collect evidence of transactions from the blockchain (on-chain) or from an off-chain ledger managed by an intermediary. This study aims to expand the understanding of such transactions, outline possible configurations for the recognition of stablecoin balances and transactions in financial statements, and audit procedures for collecting evidence of these transactions. Based on actual transactions of stablecoin registered on the Ethereum blockchain, we present a hypothetical case of the accounting history of an audited company to demonstrate the challenges in establishing accounting and audit procedures for these novel transactions. We observe an abundance, diversity, and unprecedentedness in the stablecoin transactions studied. We further identify the need to adapt current audit procedures and create new ones, and rethink the very process of doing so. The findings could help auditors obtain more significant knowledge of the information required to assess a company’s financial statements when such statements include stablecoin transactions. In addition, the study addresses the evolving relationship between auditing, accounting, and information technology, and the problems in integrating accounting and information technology.

Blockchain implications for auditing: a systematic literature review and bibliometric analysis
Romildo Silva, Helena Inácio and Rui Pedro Marques
Published October 2022
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Blockchain technology, smart contracts, and asset tokenization have relevant implications for the auditing environment. This paper evaluates the current stage of blockchain application in auditing, analyzing scientific publications and identifying the impact of what is already a reality and the potential effects of its improvements in audit professionals’ activities performance. The article considers the proposals and suggestions on the leading research indexed by the Scopus and Web of Science databases. We analyzed 374 papers on the topic of blockchain and provide a summary and analysis of the current state of auditing research. The bibliometric analysis was performed using the Bibliometrix R Package and the VOSviewer software. After a systematic study of abstracts and a general review of the papers to only include those directly related to our work’s objectives, we found 78 papers. The work results in a framework of potential and effective implications of blockchain technology for auditing, pointing out several new challenges in terms of skills and knowledge needed in this new reality of audit professionals.

Decision tree tool for auditors’ going concern assessment in Spain
Cleber Beretta Custodio, Yu Gu and José Portela González
Published November 2022
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The COVID-19 pandemic increased uncertainty about the financial future of many organizations, and regulators alerted auditors to be increasingly skeptical in assessing an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. An auditor’s assessment of an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern is a matter of significant judgment. This paper proposes to use machine learning to construct a Decision Tree Automated Tool, based on both quantitative financial indicators (e.g., Z-scores) and qualitative factors (e.g., partners’ judgment and assessment of industry risk given the pandemic). Considering both quantitative and qualitative factors results in a model that provides additional audit evidence for auditors in their going-concern assessment. An auditing firm in Spain used the model as a supplemental guide, and the model’s suggested results were compared to auditors’ reports to evaluate its effectiveness and accuracy. The model’s predictions were significantly similar to the auditors’ assessments, indicating a high level of accuracy, and differences between the model’s proposed outcomes and auditors’ final conclusions were investigated. This paper also provides insights for regulators on both the use of machine-learning predictive models and additional factors to be considered in future going-concern assessment research.

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