Identifying Decision Useful Information with the Matrix Format Income Statement
34 Pages Posted: 6 May 2008
We conduct an experiment to investigate the potential benefits of an alternative format for the income statement, the matrix format, initially developed by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and UK Accounting Standards Board in their joint project on performance reporting. Sophisticated financial statement users (financial analysts and professional accountants) and less sophisticated financial statement users (MBA students) were asked to extract information from a set of financial statements that included an income statement either in the IAS 1 format or in the matrix format. We find that the matrix format improves the accuracy with which users extract financial information. This result is driven by greater accuracy, for all user groups, on below-the-line items. Furthermore, despite lack of familiarity with the matrix format, its use did not appear to affect the time taken, the ease of extracting financial information, or users' task completion confidence; further experience with the matrix format could lead to benefits along these lines as well. Our findings may assist the FASB and IASB in their joint project on financial statement presentation.
JEL Classification: M41, M44, C90
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation