Critical Success Factors Relating to the Adoption of XBRL in Saudi Arabia

By Rawashdeh, Awni; Selamat, Mohamad Hisyam | Journal of International Technology and Information Management, February 2013 | Go to article overview

Critical Success Factors Relating to the Adoption of XBRL in Saudi Arabia


Rawashdeh, Awni, Selamat, Mohamad Hisyam, Journal of International Technology and Information Management


INTRODUCTION

Before continuing further, a frequently used term in this study is Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and a short explanation of it is warranted. The term 'XBRL' is an umbrella for creating business reports, which can be financial or non-financial in nature (Hoffman, 2006). However, the term 'XBRL' has no established definition by itself. It differs between researchers and evolves over time and extends to embrace new supporting technologies (e.g. Semantic Web); in fact the XFMRL of yesteryear is today's 'XBRL'. Given the variations in defining 'XBRL', the researchers, for this research, follows the best definition according to Charlie Hoffman, the father of XBRL, who states: "XBRL is an open-standard which supports information modeling and the expression of semantic meaning commonly required in business reporting."

XBRL, therefore, is an open data standard based on XML for financial reporting. XBRL permits information modeling in business reporting besides the expression of semantic meaning commonly required within it. It is dependent upon the XML syntax and associated XML technologies (e.g. XML Schema, XPath, XLink, and Namespaces) to create this semantic meaning (Isenmann, Bey, & Welter, 2007).

For the purposes of business reporting, the specifics of technical grammatical rules for taxonomy and instance document creation and the schema of their core building blocks called XBRL specification are essential. The need for the different taxonomies to define the tags for different accounting concepts such as asset and current asset and their relationships (e.g. current asset under asset) are vital, whereas the instance documents contain facts employing the tags defined in the taxonomy used (e.g. total current asset equals $100) (Bovee, Ettredge, Srivastava, & Vasarhelyi, 2002; Bovee, Kogan, Nelson, Srivastava, & Vasarhelyi, 2005). The XBRL architecture has been criticized, for example, for its complexity (Doolin & Troshani, 2007). Bovee et al., (2005) has described the developmental process of the XBRL taxonomy which is difficult at the sector, country and firm levels. Despite these limitations and costs incurred from XBRL implementation, the literature lists many potential benefits of XBRL adoption, one of which is to define and exchange financial information, such as financial statements. The XBRL specification has been developed and published by XBRL International (Rawashdeh, 2013).

New innovations in digital financial reporting are continuously occurring at a rapid pace in information processing (Burnett, Friedman, & Murthy, 2006). The most important phase of transition, which is currently taking place in the digital financial reporting area, is a shift from the traditional standards of "manual processing" to XBRL, in which modeling the data and semantic meaning are converging together. Due to the capabilities of XBRL mentioned above, interactive data technology is expected to play an important role in information processing, an emphasis true for all users who adopted XBRL. As the XBRL supporters consider that the rapid entry and the adoption of XBRL across the world is important to achieve both social and economic goals (Henderson, Sheetz, & Trinkle, 2011; Steenkamp & Nel, 2012), it has set a target to make business reporting most extensible and transparent (Hodge, Kennedy, & Maines, 2004). Around 15 years ago, in April 1998, Charles Hoffman, a CPA investigated the methods in which XML could be used for reporting business and financial information (Muller-Wickop, Schultz, & Nuttgens, 2013). To date, 27 XBRL International jurisdictions in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, North America and Australia have adopted XBRL(XBRL.org, 2013). However, the XBRL conversion process in Saudi Arabia is rather slow. In June 2013, Tadawul requested all listed companies to update their information in the XBRL voluntary program on "IFSAH" (Tadawul, 2013). …

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