Original Research

An analysis of fundamental concepts in the conceptual framework using ontology technologies

Marthinus Cornelius Gerber, Aurona Jacoba Gerber, Alta van der Merwe
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 17, No 4 | a525 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v17i4.525 | © 2014 Marthinus Cornelius Gerber, Aurona Jacoba Gerber, Alta van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 February 2013 | Published: 29 August 2014

About the author(s)

Marthinus Cornelius Gerber, University of Pretoria, Department of Accounting, South Africa
Aurona Jacoba Gerber,
Alta van der Merwe,

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The interpretation of financial data obtained from the accounting process for reporting purposes is regulated by financial accounting standards (FAS). The history and mechanisms used for the development of ʻThe Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting’ (the Conceptual Framework) as well as the financial accounting standards resulted in impressive volumes of material that guides modern financial reporting practices, but unfortunately, as is often the case with textual manuscripts, it contains descriptions that are vague, inconsistent or ambiguous. As part of the on-going initiatives to improve International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) promotes the development of principle-based IFRS, which aim to address the problems of vagueness, inconsistency and ambiguity. This paper reports on the findings of a design science research (DSR) project that, as artefact, developed a first version ontology-based formal language representing the definitions of asset, liability and equity (the fundamental elements of the statement of financial position as defined in the Conceptual Framework) through the application of knowledge representation (ontology) techniques as used within computing. We suggest that this artefact may assist with addressing vagueness, inconsistencies and ambiguities within the definitions of the Conceptual Framework. Based on our findings, we include suggestions for the further development of a formal language and approach to assist the formulation of the Conceptual Framework. The project focuses on the Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting after the incorporation of Phase A in the convergence project between the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and IASB.


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