Effects of the SEC's XBRL mandate on financial reporting comparability

Sandip Dhole, Gerald J. Lobo, Sagarika Mishra, Ananda M. Pal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In 2009, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made it mandatory for firms to file interactive data using XBRL along with their 10-K and 10-Q reports on EDGAR. There was an initial three-year phase-in period, with the first (last) phase covering the largest (smallest) firms in the US capital markets. We examine the implications of the SEC's XBRL mandate for financial statement comparability. Our results indicate that financial statement comparability declined in the initial years after the mandate. We also find that firms that use more company-specific extension taxonomies (companies are allowed to use their own taxonomies when the standard taxonomy provided by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is inadequate) have lower financial statement comparability in the post-mandate years. Finally, we document that the level of discretion involved in measuring particular financial statement line items is related to the post-mandate change in comparability - we find that selling, general and administrative expense (SG&A) comparability declined after the mandate, while depreciation comparability did not change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-44
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Accounting Information Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • XBRL
  • Financial statement comparability
  • Extension taxonomy

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