Opportunities of Online Financial Reporting
Utilizing online reporting greatly reduces a company's per-unit cost of producing information to the public. The cost of publishing, printing and distributing individual copies of financial reports places a limit on the firm since it requires significant amounts of financial outlay. Thses costs are further increased in the curtailing the information to meet the specific needs of different stakeholders and audiences. These costs are eliminated with the use of the Internet.
In addition to making the financial information available to stakeholders and other parties at the national level, online reports provides a firm with the potential of both regional and international reach. Further with all financial information posted on a single website the individual users can acquire the information relevant to their particular need. This is a direct benefit over paper based reports since all relevant information has to be made available whether or not the user finds all of it useful.
Further access to online reports are instant and simultaneous whether they are obtained from “static pages or dynamically drawn from corporate databases” Lymer etal (1999).
The Internet presents a very complex and unstable environment in which to report. Inspite of this, presenting financial reports via the Internet adds more value to the information presented than in the traditional paper-based form; with the wide variety of tools and features that the Web affords. For example using a company's home page to access specific documents such as the auditors report or the financial report summary and viewing multiple pages from different companies simultaneously.