Original Research

Towards the conceptualisation of flow in corporate financial reporting theory

Antoinette Rehwinkel, Daniël Gouws
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 11, No 3 | a60 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v11i3.60 | © 2015 Antoinette Rehwinkel, Daniël Gouws | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 February 2016 | Published: 31 December 2015

About the author(s)

Antoinette Rehwinkel, Department of Financial Accounting, University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa
Daniël Gouws, Department of Financial Management, University of Pretoria (UP), Pretoria, South Africa

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Developments in science, technology and sophisticated interconnected social networks increase the speed and volatility of the flow of economic-related energies, such as financial and intellectual capital. These developments require an information theory on corporate financial reporting that is stable at a fundamental level and focused on the disclosure of those systemic attributes that are pivotal to the sustenance of business entities operating in the global economy, or in economies with similar traits. The limited success in attaining stability is caused by, among others, the application of diverse, restricted and even opposing perspectives, resulting in random theoretical development, often unaligned with economic reality. The main aim of the article is to investigate whether the introduction of an underlying concept, principle or theorem, founded on the phenomenon of flow, to general- purpose corporate financial reporting theory could contribute to rendering stable guidance for coherent theoretical development while simultaneously enhancing alignment with the current global economy. As the study was conducted at conceptual level, a qualitative, transdisciplinary theoretical research methodology was applied by taking into account related basic concepts of philosophy, corporate financial reporting theory, economics, management accounting, physics and complexity. The study suggests that the conceptualisation of flow in general-purpose corporate financial reporting theory could contribute to rendering stable guidance for further coherent theoretical development, and improve on the alignment of the theory with the dynamics of the current global economy. This finding creates the opportunity to explore a variety of new reporting approaches from a scientific perspective, which could aid to enhance the disclosure of useful financial information.


complexity; corporate financial reporting theory; energy; entropy; flow


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