Knowledge and skills in complex assurance engagements: The case of xbrl

Roger S. Debreceny, Stephanie M. Farewell, Audrey N. Scarlata, Dan N. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


What knowledge and skills (KSs) are necessary for complex Agreed-Upon Procedures (AUP) engagements, such as those that include eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) tagged data? This study contributes by investigating these issues in two studies: (1) a survey and (2) structured interviews of accounting professionals with XBRL expertise. Survey results suggest commonality in perceptions of the KSs needed in two knowledge categories, ‘‘Accounting and Financial Reporting’’ and ‘‘Undertaking AUP on XBRL Instance Documents,’’ and, variability in ratings of two categories: ‘‘XBRL technology’’ and ‘‘audit procedures.’’ Interview results indicate that knowledge of the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy is most important to AUP engagements followed by the nature of AUP engagements. The results suggest: (1) a need for clarification of XBRL-relevant KSs and (2) an important but unfilled role for universities and scholars in discerning, supporting, and developing the KSs needed to support complex assurance engagements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-45
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, American Accounting Association. All rights reserved.


  • Accounting systems
  • Agreed upon procedures (AUP) engagements
  • Assurance
  • Skills
  • XBRL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Accounting
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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