Multivariate decision accuracy and the presentation of accounting information
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Accounting, Finance and Economics
Since multivariate graphics provide spatial integration, summarization and comparison of information, they may provide the means for improving decision-making. This study tests for the incremental benefit of multivariate graphics over a tabular format, by comparing the outcomes for tabular–graphical combination formats with tabular-only formats in an experimental environment. This is an area where research has been sparse and where existing results are inconsistent. The study examines the interactive influence of presentation format and information complexity on multivariate decision accuracy, to determine the most effective presentation format for the performance of multivariate decision tasks of varying complexity. Results show a significant interaction between presentation format and information complexity to affect multivariate decision accuracy. When information complexity is low, presentation format has no impact on accuracy. However, when information complexity is high, the tabular-alone format shows the highest accuracy. The advantages of graphical and pictorial formats reported in earlier studies are not supported, a finding which has significant implications for the manner of disclosure of financial statements through graphical means.