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Journal Article

E‑Availability and E‑Accessibility of Financial Documents: A Cross‑State Examination of U.S. County Websites  pp73-86

David Baker, Roger Chin

© Jun 2016 Volume 14 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 134

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Abstract

Abstract: This article examines the e‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents through county websites in the United States (U.S.). E‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents supports a stakeholder‑centric approach for eval uating performance and fiscal conditions of county governments, while also promoting democratic values of transparency and accountability. Previous research addresses e‑availability and e‑accessibility for cities, only one analysis reviews popular reports in both cities and counties, and only one study exists that exclusively focuses on the 100 most populous U.S. counties. Our review extends earlier research by examining 237 U.S. counties, up to five in each of the 48 states with county governments. Addit ionally, this research makes a limited comparison with an earlier study to indicate changes in the e‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents over a four‑year period. Using systematic sampling and content analysis, this study contributes t o fuller understanding of the significance of financial documents as a feature of e‑government, while reviewing more counties and highlighting variations among counties of differing population sizes. This research also conducted Chi‑square tests to examin e the relationship of the variables, and the value of Cramér's V was calculated to measure the strength of the relationship between the variables. In addition to finding variations in the e‑availability and e‑accessibility of financial documents among cou nties of different population sizes, this analysis also demonstrates dramatic e‑availability improvements for two of the three selected financial documents while noting a modest decrease in the overall e‑accessibility of financial documents on county webs ites. After reporting and analyzing the findings, research limitations are disclosed, and recommendations are offered to advance the state‑of‑practice and for further studies. This form of benchmarking may assist other local governments in the U.S. with i mproving their websites, while internationally this analysis supports developing countries with refining their e‑government strategies by improving online information disclosure.

 

Keywords: Keywords: E-government, e-availability, e-accessibility, financial documents, state-of-practice, transparency, accountability

 

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