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Auditor Independence, Nonfinancial Disclosures, Limited Business Knowledge Investors, Nonprofessional Investors
Vasarhelyi and Zheng (2013) report that more than 4,000 filing errors have been reported in XBRL interactive data following the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions 2009 interactive data reporting mandate. Alles and Gray (2012) report that demand exists for externally provided assurance of XBRL filings if the cost of assurance appears less significant to clients. While the discussion of assurance on XBRL filings generally addresses managements confidence in the accuracy assurance on financial data, a void in the literature exists regarding auditor independence in the provision of assurance on XBRL-generated nonfinancial information. Further, Pinsker and Wheeler (2009) note that limited business knowledge (LBK, hereafter) investors perceptions of and reactions to assurance services have not been fully examined. The results of the present research indicate that LBK investors may be more tolerant of a nonindependent attestation on XBRL nonfinancial data with respect to their long-term investments, but not necessarily for their short-term investments. In addition, companies that provide assurance on voluntarily reported nonfinancial information may feel a level of comfort in the fact that LBK investors do not feel that they would win a lawsuit against the company for a mistake in this information.
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