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Why Accounting Matters: A Central Bank Perspective


  • Schwarz Claudia


  • Karakitsos Polychronis


  • Merriman Niall


  • Studener Werner

    () (European Central Bank, Sonnemannstrasse 22, Frankfurt am Main 60314, Germany)


This paper analyses how accounting frameworks can affect three important areas of responsibility of many central banks, namely monetary policy, financial stability and banking supervision. The identified effects of accounting rules and accounting information on the activities of a central bank are manifold. First, the effectiveness of monetary policy crucially hinges on the financial independence of a central bank, which can be evidenced, inter alia, by its financial strength. Using a new simulation of the financial results of the European Central Bank (ECB), this paper shows that the reported annual profit and financial buffers of a central bank can be significantly affected by accounting, profit distribution and loss coverage rules. Second, in respect of financial stability, the accounting frameworks applied by commercial banks can not only affect their behaviour, but also that of financial markets. Indeed, there is evidence that accounting frameworks amplified pro-cyclicality during the recent crisis, and thus posed risks to the stability of the financial system. This being so, the accounting frameworks of credit institutions have obvious implications for central banks’ analyses with regard to promoting financial stability. Finally, as regards banking supervision, regulatory reporting and key supervisory ratios are based on accounting data. Under the new regulatory framework for banks in the European Union (EU), bank supervisors are highly reliant on accounting data. This means that central banks, in their role as bank supervisors, need to understand the underlying accounting rules and should directly support the development and application of harmonised accounting frameworks.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwarz Claudia & Karakitsos Polychronis & Merriman Niall & Studener Werner, 2015. "Why Accounting Matters: A Central Bank Perspective," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-42, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:aelcon:v:5:y:2015:i:1:p:1-42:n:4

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Palea, Vera & Biancone, Paolo Pietro, 2017. "Which Accounting Rules for Economic and Social Sustainable Development? Engaging Critically with IFRS Adoption in the EU," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201733, University of Turin.
    2. Palea, Vera, 2015. "Journal Rankings and the Sustainability of Diversity in Accounting Research," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201546, University of Turin.
    3. Jakob Korbinian Eberl, 2016. "The Collateral Framework of the Eurosystem and Its Fiscal Implications," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 69, November.
    4. Schotte,Simone Raphaela & Winkler,Hernan Jorge, 2016. "Why are the elderly more averse to immigration when they are more likely to benefit ? evidence across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7554, The World Bank.
    5. Ashraf Khan, 2016. "Central Bank Governance and the Role of Nonfinancial Risk Management," IMF Working Papers 16/34, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution


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