The Internet is increasingly used by companies to disseminate financial information. However, the extent to which the use of this new medium will change corporate reporting practice has received surprisingly little debate in the published literature. To widen the participation in the debate, this paper posits that the future of Internet-based financial reporting is contingent on technological and non-technological factors. This proposition is evaluated using the opinions of the immediate trends in online reporting obtained from seventeen UK experts in accounting and/or the Internet who responded to an open-ended questionnaire. These experts were drawn from academics, auditors, regulators, reporting companies and users of corporate reports. While the experts concur on some issues, they provide a range of different views in other areas. Some views are technology-driven, whereas others pay more attention to non-technological factors such as resistance to technological change, users' reluctance to read financial reports and the slow reaction of regulators. Some experts foresee minimum changes in financial reporting over the short term, while others adopt a more progressive or even radical perspective. This paper has synthesized these views into nine major categories which provide information on the role of the Internet in financial reporting. The results have important implications for all parties involved in financial reporting and also indicate avenues for further research.
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