The study was guided by the theoretical framework defined under the Technology Acceptance Model and the Innovation Diffusion Theory. TAM incorporated perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, intention to use, and usage behaviour (Khosrow-Pour, 2006). On the other hand, Innovation Diffusion Theory enumerates stages through which innovation diffusion is introduced into society – awareness, early adoption by innovators, assessment and endorsement by opinion leaders, and finally acceptance by the general public (Baran & Davisi, 2011).
In the study, findings reveal that the users of IFR in Saudi Arabia belong to the investors, businessmen and the professional class, who comprise the opinion leaders of the Saudi Arabian society. Reliance upon IFR and regular patronage of financial reports in company websites by this class of society constitutes the penultimate stage when the public would generally come to rely on IFR. It is even likely that this has already occurred at present. Analysts, students, academe, join the small investors in sourcing these reports, confident in their truthfulness and reliability because of compliance with standards specified in disclosure regulations (GPDS) enforced by the SOCPA, the international accounting profession as well as the government. As for perceived ease of use (facility), usefulness (relevance), intention to use (confidence) and usage behaviour (adaptability), respondents indicate that they experience relative ease of access to IFR (Table 7), ease of locating the IFR (Table 14), ease of comparing IFRs of different companies (Table 15), and that website contact was effective as a rule (Table 9). Reports were presented in convenient formats (Table 8), namely PDF and Excel spread sheet, which increases the usefulness and facility by which the information may be put to use. The information is proven reliable by the inclusion of the audit report and signature with the online version (Tables 10 and 11). These elements contribute to a heightened sense that the IFR data are created in the form and with the substance and reliability that engender trust and confidence in the information and the system that made it possible. From the perception study conducted in the course of this research, there is an apparent consensus among IFR users that financial information published in company websites have attained the level of trust and confidence investors have formerly reserved for the hardcopy audited financial statements issued by external auditors. They agree that the web copy’s counterpart is complete, reliable, useful, and important to performance (Items 8, 9, 10 and 16 of Table 13, and Item 6 of Table 20). However, they likewise agree that the IFR disclosure might be influenced by politics, the internal auditor (despite the fact that audited financial statements are generated by external auditors), the ownership structure, and the company board (Item 13, 18, 19 and 20), all of whom have vested interests in the image of the company which may be projected by the IFR. This is an interesting pragmatism displayed by the investor respondents, to realize the possible existence of conflicts of interest in the preparation and publication of the IFR, and yet to repose trust and confidence in it. The reason appears to be anchored upon the reliance of the public on the government’s surveillance mechanism and the political will of a bureaucracy that aims to play a more significant role in global trade and economy. This reliance is underscored by the exceptionally strong agreement among investors that they rely upon the IFR specifically to