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The illusion of comparable European IFRS financial statements. Beliefs of auditors, analysts and other users


  • Vicky COLE


  • Joel BRANSON
  • Diane BREESCH

    (Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium)


Reaching higher comparability was one of the main goals of the implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the European Union in 2005. However, national accounting traditions and cultural differences continue to cause differences in the application of IFRS (KPMG & von Keitz, 2006). European IFRS financial statements might therefore be less comparable than users of these statements possibly assume. This study contributes by determining to what extent auditors, analysts and other users of European IFRS financial statements believe that these statements are comparable and what they perceive to be the most important problem areas when it comes to comparability. Our survey of 426 individuals reveals that only 41% of the respondents believe that European IFRS financial statements are comparable. The more experienced respondents are, the less they believe in the comparability of these statements. Overall, 13 areas are perceived as problematic for the comparability of IFRS financial statements by at least half of the respondents. The three main issues that appear in most of these problem areas are interpretation differences, subjectivity and disclosure differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Vicky COLE & Joel BRANSON & Diane BREESCH, 2011. "The illusion of comparable European IFRS financial statements. Beliefs of auditors, analysts and other users," Journal of Accounting and Management Information Systems, Faculty of Accounting and Management Information Systems, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, vol. 10(2), pages 106-134, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ami:journl:v:10:y:2011:i:2:p:106-134

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    Cited by:

    1. Andreea Paula Dumitru, 2014. "Perceptions Of Professional Accountants On The Costs And Benefits Of Implementing Ias/Ifrs In Romania," Global Economic Observer, "Nicolae Titulescu" University of Bucharest, Faculty of Economic Sciences;Institute for World Economy of the Romanian Academy, vol. 2(2), pages 66-75, November.
    2. Droj Laurentiu, 2012. "Financial Performance Analysis Based On The Financial Statements For The Companies Located In The Bihor - Hajdu Bihar Euroregion," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(2), pages 464-470, December.
    3. Philip Brown, 2011. "International Financial Reporting Standards: what are the benefits?," Accounting and Business Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 269-285, August.
    4. MIRON Vasile Cristian Ioachim & BURJA Vasile & FOCSAN Eleonora Ionela, 2015. "Content Of Financial Statements And Their Informative Valences For Stakeholders," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 0, pages 255-261, July.

    More about this item


    Comparability; European IFRS financial statements; survey;

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting


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