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Transformation of accounting through digital standardisation: Tracing the construction of the IFRS Taxonomy

Indrit Troshani (Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Joanne Locke (The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Nick Rowbottom (Department of Accounting, Birmingham Business School, College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 29 November 2018

Issue publication date: 15 January 2019




Corporate reporting infrastructure and communication are being transformed by the emergence of digital technologies. A key element of the digital accounting infrastructure underpinning international corporate reporting is the IFRS Taxonomy, a digital representation of international accounting standards that is required by firms to produce digital corporate reports. The purpose of this paper is to trace the development, governance and adoption of the IFRS Taxonomy to highlight the implications for accounting practice and standard-setting.


The authors mobilise Actor Network Theory and a model of transnational standardisation to analyse the process surrounding the formation and diffusion of the IFRS Taxonomy as a legitimate “reference” of the IFRS Standards. The authors trace the process using interview, observation and documentary evidence.


The analysis shows that while the taxonomy enables IFRS-based reporting in the digital age, tensions and detours result in the need for a realignment of the perspectives of both accounting standard-setters and taxonomy developers that have transformative implications for accounting practice and standard-setting.


The study explains how and why existing accounting standards are transformed by technology inscriptions with reflexive effects on the formation and diffusion of accounting standards. In doing so, the paper highlights the implications that arise as accounting practice adapts to the digitalisation of corporate reporting.



The authors acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the participants and assistance of IFRS Foundation. The authors also thank the anonymous reviewers and the participants of the 2016 APIRA Conference in Melbourne for their insightful and constructive comments.


Troshani, I., Locke, J. and Rowbottom, N. (2019), "Transformation of accounting through digital standardisation: Tracing the construction of the IFRS Taxonomy", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 133-162.



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