اکتشاف پتانسیل برای بررسی استفاده از اطلاعات روابط سرمایه گذار از طریق تجزیه و تحلیل وب سرور سیاهه های مربوط
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20044||2005||23 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11606 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, Volume 6, Issue 1, March 2005, Pages 31–53
This paper introduces the Web server log file and assesses its potential as a research instrument in measuring and interpreting the use of corporate reporting information. Measuring Investor Relations output, including annual financial reports but covering a wider range of corporate reporting and market informing activity, has proven a difficult task in the past due to a lack of truly effective research methodologies to access such activity. This paper highlights the growth in the provision of online Investor Relations information and details how online information can be measured using activity logs taken as a Web server fulfils user requests for information over the Internet. The paper analyses the limitations of this methodology for measuring the use of Investor Relations output and illustrates its possible application by drawing on data from a UK FTSE 100 company. Finally, the paper concludes that this methodology has significant potential in measuring the use of online Investor Relations information, and can therefore make valuable contributions to corporate reporting research and policy making in this area.
This paper assesses the feasibility of extracting valuable information from an analysis of Web log files to gain insights into understanding the use of Investor Relations (IR) information. The discipline of IR has grown significantly in the last 20 years, particularly in economies with strong equity markets ( Marston and Empson, 2003). Consequently, the type and quantity of IR information disclosed has increased rapidly. This growth has been greatly aided by the development and widespread availability of the Internet as a communications channel for information in an electronic format. Despite this growth of IR information availability, there is little direct published evidence of what information is actually used. Although several authors have considered the usefulness of online IR against that distributed in more traditional formats (e.g. Ashbaugh et al., 1999, Jones et al., 2001 and Dull et al., 2003), no study provides data on what is actually accessed by users. Previously, it has proven difficult to observe the use of IR information by the various constituents who have access to this information. Discovering what corporate reporting information is demanded and/or used will be of keen interest to accounting policy makers and researchers, as well as IR practitioners. The distribution of corporate reports online represents an opportunity to directly view and to measure the usage of reported financial information, the real time activity of users interacting with reported data, proposed by Parker (1982). Several authors have addressed the use of corporate reports and usefulness of other corporate data (e.g. Trueblood Committee Report, 1973, Carsberg et al., 1974, Accounting Standards Steering Committee, 1975, Hansford et al., 1996, ICAEW, 1998, ICAS, 1999 and Weetman and Beattie, 1999). Studies generally captured data by employing questionnaires (e.g. Lee and Tweedie, 1976, Bartlett and Chandler, 1997 and Beattie and Pratt, 2002), simulation (e.g. Elias, 1972) interviews (e.g. Lee and Tweedie, 1977 and MORI, 2003) or observation (Nielson Norman Group, 2003). Although valuable, information usage in each case is measured indirectly and subject to various distortions through the experimental setting. This paper aims to investigate whether Web logs can be used as an alternative research methodology to directly measure the use of corporate reporting information for both IR and accounting research purposes. Before discussing the content of IR information specifically, the paper defines what Web logs are and investigates the type and validity of the information to be gained from using them. It then continues by assessing the suitability of the information yielded by Web log analysis in studying the usage of online IR information. Finally, the paper draws upon the results of a pilot study examining the Web logs of online IR Web sites of large UK listed companies to test the validity of our theoretical suggestions with real data. One specific company is used to illustrate the use of Web logs, as proposed in the paper.1
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
As the level of online IR information disclosed by companies is increasing, the need to assess what information is used becomes more important. As the level of corporate reporting information supplied outstrips the level of information demanded, it is important to know what reporting data is used and what is therefore relevant to users. This paper illustrates that Web log analysis has the potential to enable the study of users directly interacting with corporate financial information and to observe sections of users that have not been studied before. In the present corporate reporting environment, characterised by an increasing volume of published information and the feasible production of customised information, this methodology, in conjunction with others, can inform research and policy making. It can also provide insights into the most effective organisation of IR Web sites to enable corporate financial information to be disclosed and presented in such a way that reduces the level of information asymmetry between organisations and stakeholders. Web log analysis can assist the IR function in terms of online content management, justifying Web site investment and deciding on future IR strategy (Adams and Frost, 2003). Whilst technical barriers exist that reduce the accuracy of estimates of the information requested online, Web logs can provide a unique insight into trends in usage over time. As such, Web log analysis can be seen as the first step to develop direct observation strategies for improved understanding of the usage of corporate and financial reporting information. The methodology outlined in this paper can be developed further where Web sites require users to register their details before accessing IR information as recommended by IR industry groups (e.g. Irbestpractice.org, 2003). This would ensure all users would sign on, when accessing the site, enabling Web logs to identify individual users and enable far greater accuracy in profiling demand. However, requiring users to register and sign-on before accessing information may impose an obstacle to using the Web site and may reduce short term demand (Nielson Norman Group, 2003 and Neely et al., 2002). Web sites can also be designed with client side data tagging, where information is recorded directly from the users browser thereby eliminating the underreporting problems caused by memory caching inherent in traditional Web server log files. Information collected by cookies, which record the actions of a user interacting with a Web site, can also extend the analysis of information demand in future work. As the development of HTM tagging highlights the benefits of online disclosure, more companies are beginning to disclose annual reports in separate parts in HTML or in PDF files, rather than as a large single PDF file. This will enable Web logs to provide greater detail on the most widely used, most relevant parts of the annual report by specifying which sections are requested. This can be viewed as a precursor to providing customised financial information for users, a key enabling feature of the online disclosure compared to offline disclosure. The schema for tagging financial information, XBRL, will provide tags on individual corporate figures, enabling Web log analysis to report on the use of specific units of corporate information in the future. Better techniques for reviewing collective trends or comparative trends–than the single company review used to illustrate the methodology in this paper–may be investigated. Web log analysis can be complemented by visualisations techniques to aid investigation of the data. For example, star field visualisations are suggested by Hochheiser and Shneiderman (2001) for complementing Web log analytics and providing richer analysis. Finally, Web logs also enable us to compare the use of online corporate information with the use of offline corporate information to assess whether reporting data is used differently when it is communicated electronically as opposed to communication via distribution in a ‘hard copy’ format. Evidence on this issue can contribute to the debate over whether online reporting is a substitute or complement to offline reporting. This paper has sought to assess the suitability of Web log analysis to gain insights into the usage of corporate reporting and other IR information. Whilst limitations are highlighted, opportunities exist to further pursue this novel methodology in future research.