Standardizing the presentation of financial data: Does XBRL's taxonomy affect the investment performance of nonprofessional investors?

Cassy D Henderson, University of Texas at El Paso


Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is mandated in the United States with the intention of making financial information more useful and easier to analyze. XBRL technology defines financial information, and when implemented as intended, has the ability to standardize the items presented in the financial statements. Standardizing financial information is likely to benefit investors by simplifying the acquisition and integration of the information. Nonprofessional investors have limited knowledge and experience analyzing financial statements and are likely to benefit from a standardized presentation format. Using 167 graduate business students as proxies for nonprofessional investors, the current study examines how standardizing the presentation of financial data impacts investment performance by investigating the number of financial ratios correctly calculated, task completion time, investment decision, and confidence in decision-making. Because XBRL technology produces financial statements that are likely viewed in an online format, the study also investigates how presentation view affects investing performance. I conduct a 2 X 2 full factorial between-participants design manipulating presentation format with two factors: format and view. Each factor is manipulated with two conditions. Format condition includes a standardized presentation and a non-standardized presentation of financial information, and the view condition includes a paper and an online presentation of the information. Results show standardizing financial information improves one's ability to correctly calculate financial ratios, reduces the time taken to complete the task, and increases confidence in decision-making. The results offer evidence on the value of standardizing the presentation of financial statements and the benefits XBRL technology provides investors.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Henderson, Cassy D, "Standardizing the presentation of financial data: Does XBRL's taxonomy affect the investment performance of nonprofessional investors?" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3552245.