Title: Financial reporting comparability: toward an XBRL ontology of the FASB/IFRS conceptual framework

Authors: Mitchell R. Wenger; Manoj A. Thomas; Jeffry Stephen Babb

Addresses: Patterson School of Accountancy, University of Mississippi, 200 Conner Hall, Oxford, MS 38677, USA ' Department of Information Systems, Virginia Commonwealth University, 301 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23284, USA ' Department of Computer Information and Decision Management, West Texas A&M University, 2403 Russell Long Blvd., Canyon, TX 79016, USA

Abstract: As a mechanism for the exchange, transmission, and reporting of accounting and financial data, eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) makes great strides toward standardisation. However, given the global nature of contemporary financial markets, XBRL reporting must transcend or accommodate differences in reporting standards. Presently, the two standards for XBRL reporting, the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), make reconciling meanings between these standards a laborious and error-prone affair. As the audience for this reporting often spans countries and cultures, many have a stake in digesting XBRL-formatted financial reports. This paper addresses the question of how cross-cultural and transnational consumers of XBRL statements can derive meaning from these reports. We present an ontological approach toward solving this problem which includes a financial reporting ontology and associated architecture for comparing concepts across XBRL taxonomies. The architecture is explained, evaluation criteria offered, and future research approaches toward realising artefacts using this architecture are proffered.

Keywords: e-finance; XBRL; eXtensible business reporting language; XML; eXtensible markup language; taxonomy; ontology; financial reporting; US GAAP; Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; IFRS; International Financial Reporting Standards; financial statement analysis; financial statements; cross-cultural consumers; transnational consumers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEF.2013.051754

International Journal of Electronic Finance, 2013 Vol.7 No.1, pp.15 - 32

Published online: 28 Jan 2013 *

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