User-Customized Financial Reporting: The Potential of Database Accounting and the Internet

Gary Schneider, Paul Bowen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentation


One of the most widely-accepted ways for publicly-held firms to communicate the results of their 
operations to stockholders, creditors, and other external stakeholders is to issue financial 
statements. The existence of multiple acceptable, yet not reconcilable, accounting procedures 
causes these financial statements to be inefficient and ineffective communication devices. Critics 
of existing financial reporting standards have argued that the operation of an efficient capital 
market requires a more effective dissemination of information to investors, creditors, and other 
stakeholders than current accounting standards provide. Financial economists that have studied 
capital markets have found that these markets may not be highly efficient, especially for smaller 
firms and for firms with lightly-traded equity securities.

This paper acknowledges that events approaches to accounting that use relational databases are 
becoming prevalent in larger firms. These approaches identify semantic accounting phenomena of one 
sort or another and make these semantic primitives available to accounting information users in 
various ways. This paper describes how current advances in inter-entity networking, such as the 
Internet, and database management software, such as data warehousing, OLAP, and data mining tools, 
could ultimately provide substitutes for periodic paper-based financial statements.

This paper discusses the prospects for extending database accounting to financial reporting 
applications. One major barrier to the extension of these accounting approaches to financial 
reporting has been the difficulty of delivering information stored in large databases to 
widely-dispersed users. The Internet may provide a means for overcoming this barrier. A second 
major barrier has been the need to restrict access to certain portions of the database while 
providing sophisticated querying capabilities. The paper describes how the currently emerging 
integration of advanced database manipulation tools with the World Wide Web (the Web) can offer 
ways to overcome this second barrier. Finally, the paper notes some concerns about auditing and 
controlling third-party access to firms' databases to prevent extraction of sensitive information.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Dec 10 1997
EventPacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS) 1997 Proceedings -
Duration: Dec 10 1997 → …


ConferencePacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS) 1997 Proceedings
Period12/10/97 → …


  • Internet
  • database accounting
  • financial reporting
  • querying capabilities
  • relational databases
  • third-party access


  • Accounting
  • E-Commerce
  • Finance and Financial Management
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Data Storage Systems

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