Accounting and auditing standards help manage a compromise between users' desire for more information and the costs to prepare and transmit that information. Previously forced to manage a paucity of information, businesses now look to capitalize upon the massive volumes of data and metadata that fill petabytes of space in their servers. Likewise, data from many sources and in many forms, many of which are irrelevant, inundate investors. Accounting and auditing standards have not kept pace, maintaining an emphasis on presentation, aggregation, and sampling. This essay argues that a change in standards to focus on data, the processes that generate them, and their analysis, rather than their presentation, will add value and relevance to the accounting profession, empower end users, and improve the efficiency of the capital markets.

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