XBRL, XBRL Financial Statements, Financial Statement Assurance, Interactive Data, Assurance
The purpose of this study is to gather information about accountants and auditors level of knowledge of XBRL and their perceptions about the importance of providing assurance and the level of assurance needed. An online survey questionnaire was used to gather data from CPAs at all levels of experience and was open from December 2009 through February 2010. The survey gathered information about the participants level of knowledge and awareness about XBRL, and their perceptions about the importance, relevance, and need for assurance on XBRL financial information. The results suggest that accountants and auditors believe that assurance on XBRL financial statements is important and will improve the accuracy and reliability of the XBRL tagged financial statements. Participants were also asked to rank the importance of assurance criteria on XBRL financial statements such as assurance on the accuracy, completeness, existence, proper taxonomies, proper extensions, valid extensions and validity and well-formedness. The results show that participants ranked assurance on the accuracy and completeness assertions as being most important and assurance on validity and well-formedness being the least important. The findings have important implications for the audit profession, as the implementation of XBRL has the potential to not only expand the role of the auditor to include auditing their clients application of XBRL tags, but might also influence the cost and time involved to conduct audit services.