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Graphical and Textual Presentations in Financial Reports


Sithole, STM, Graphical and Textual Presentations in Financial Reports, Accounting and Corporate Reporting - Today and Tomorrow, InTech, S Gokten (ed), London, pp. 223-235. ISBN 978-953-51-3549-4 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The Author. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

DOI: doi:10.5772/68038


The use of separate graphs and texts to disclose information is a frequent occurrence in corporate annual reports. Multiple sources of information does not enhance understanding of users of financial statements. This chapter compares spatially separated text and graphs with integrated presentations that aim at bringing text and graphs as close as possible to each other. The chapter begins by illustrating the concept of split attention. Cognitive load arises when disparate sources of accounting information need to be mentally integrated by users. An experiment using separate text and diagrams is then presented to demonstrate how participants can deal with cognitive overload when reading split-attention material. Using two instructional design formats, the split-attention format and the integrated format, first-year accounting students were used as surrogates for financial report user groups such as employees and shareholders. The presence of the split-attention effect in the financial accounting material was established. Effective use of text and diagrams in integrated reporting helps integrated thinking and assists the interconnectedness of information. The findings suggest that redesigning financial reports by integrating text and diagrams may make effective use of the available cognitive resources and possibly enhance investors and other stakeholders’ decision-making process.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:accounting, accounting education, cognitive load theory, financial accounting, financial reports, graph, learning, split-attention
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Accounting, auditing and accountability
Research Field:Financial accounting
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Sithole, STM (Dr Seedwell Sithole)
ID Code:123586
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2018-01-11
Last Modified:2018-03-06
Downloads:67 View Download Statistics

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