oa South African Journal of Information Management - Future of financial reporting on the Internet
Until recently the printed hard copy format was the only alternative available for companies for the distribution of financial statements. However, various information technologies have developed over the past decade that can be used by companies to present their financial statements on the Internet. The purpose of the research was to try to determine the future use of information technologies by South African companies in the presentation of their financial statements on the Internet. Conclusions were based on past trends and current developments. Trends identified in South Africa were compared to trends in other countries. It was found that in all countries investigated, as in South Africa, the trend is to use more Portable Document Files (PDFs) and less documents in Hypertext Mark-up Language; PDF is, in fact, the most used format. The use of technologies such as Excel, Web casts and Interactive Financial Statements increased over the past two years, but none of the companies investigated in South Africa had implemented Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), compared to a growing number of overseas companies. Factors limiting and supporting widespread XBRL adoption were evaluated. It is suggested that companies that ignore XBRL would be at a disadvantage compared to companies that use this technology in the future.
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