Does Convergence of Accounting Standards Lead to the Convergence of Accounting Practices?: A Study from China
In this empirical study we examine whether China's efforts to converge domestic accounting standards with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) over the past 15 years have resulted in the successful convergence of Chinese listed firms. This study is unique in that we evaluate convergence of firms' accounting practices from three perspectives: (1) the level of compliance with Chinese GAAP and IFRS, (2) the consistency of accounting choices under Chinese GAAP and IFRS, and (3) identification of significant differences in the net incomes produced under Chinese GAAP and IFRS (earnings gap). Using the 1999 and 2002 annual reports of 79 Chinese listed firms we find improvement in both compliance with IFRS and in the consistency of the accounting methods used in annual reports prepared under Chinese GAAP and IFRS. We also find a reduction in the earnings gap from 1999 to 2002. However, interestingly we observed that Chinese listed firms' compliance with IFRS is significantly lower than their compliance with Chinese GAAP. Overall we believe that our findings suggest that in China the convergence of accounting standards has been a conduit to the convergence of accounting practices.
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