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IFRS Policy Changes and the Continuation of National Patterns of IFRS Practice


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  • Erlend Kvaal
  • Christopher Nobes
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    International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) contain several policy options. This paper examines the choices made in 2008/9 IFRS financial statements by large listed companies from five countries on all the options that are observable. We compare these choices with those that had been made by the same companies in 2005/6, which (except for the German companies) was the year of transition to IFRS. For Australian and UK companies, we find - as expected - that there were few policy changes. However, despite the constraints on policy change within IFRS, we find that French and Spanish companies not only made more changes than the other companies but that they also made more changes after transition than at transition. Further investigation reveals that these findings are largely driven by a small number of topics. One possible explanation for the pattern of these changes is a 'learning' process, which is supported by finding that nearly all the post-transition changes made by the French and Spanish companies were away from previous national requirements. However, we consider other possible explanations. We also present the profiles of IFRS practices for 2008/9. Despite the changes in policy from 2005/6, we find clear evidence that national patterns of IFRS practice continue through the period, so that international comparability remains in doubt.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal European Accounting Review.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (August)
    Pages: 343-371

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:343-371

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    Cited by:
    1. Nobes, Christopher & Stadler, Christian, 2013. "How arbitrary are international accounting classifications? Lessons from centuries of classifying in many disciplines, and experiments with IFRS data," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 573-595.
    2. Nadia Albu & Catalin Nicolae Albu & Madalina Dumitru & Valentin Florentin Dumitru, 2013. "Plurality or convergence in sustainability reporting standards?," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 15(Special 7), pages 729-742, November.


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