Testing the Feasibility of Small Multiples of Sparklines to Display Semimonthly Income Statement Data

40 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2012

See all articles by Daniel Tinkelman

Daniel Tinkelman

Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Linda M. Parsons

University of Alabama - Culverhouse School of Accountancy

Date Written: September 4, 2012

Abstract

This paper tests the ability of 129 accounting students to look up data, perceive and compare data patterns, and detect anomalies when the amount of information in traditional single page three-year comparative income statements is expanded 25-fold by adding semimonthly data to the page in graphical form. Participants were able to use the graphs to perform most tasks correctly more often than not. Tabular presentation of the same 1,100 to 2,000 data points required six pages. Participants using the one-page income statements with embedded graphs were better able to identify and compare patterns than those using multi-page tables, but had less success looking up precise data values. The results on pattern recognition and comparison are consistent with the proximity compatibility principle.

Keywords: Graphics, financial statement display, sparklines, small multiples, interim reporting, proximity compatibility principle

JEL Classification: M41

Suggested Citation

Tinkelman, Daniel and Parsons, Linda M., Testing the Feasibility of Small Multiples of Sparklines to Display Semimonthly Income Statement Data (September 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2141475 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2141475

Daniel Tinkelman (Contact Author)

Brooklyn College, City University of New York ( email )

346 Marlborough Rd
Brooklyn, NY NY 11226
United States
3472043322 (Phone)

Linda M. Parsons

University of Alabama - Culverhouse School of Accountancy ( email )

101 Paul W. Bryant Dr.
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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