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Global accounting standards: reality and ambitions

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  • Alfred Wagenhofer

Abstract

Purpose - The enormous success of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in becoming globally accepted accounting standards leads to challenges in the future. The purpose of this paper is to outline challenges that arise from political influences and from the pressure to sustain a successful path in the development of standards. It considers two strategies for future growth which the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) follows: the work on fundamental issues and diversification to private entities. Design/methodology/approach - The development of IFRS is discussed and evaluated against insights gained from accounting theory. In particular, results from information economics illustrate potential difficulties of the development of a new conceptual framework for international accounting standards. Findings - The main findings are: the growth strategies adopted by the IASB are risky; the conceptual framework does not sufficiently take into account the diverse objectives of financial reporting; stewardship, prudence, and aggregation can be desirable characteristics of accounting information; and standards that are developed for listed companies need not be well suited for private entities. Practical implications - The paper suggests that skepticism is warranted about the viability of a consistent framework that applies globally, and that there are benefits to constrained competition among different standards. Originality/value - The paper reviews academic research that has implications for standard setting and identifies key issues in developing global accounting standards.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfred Wagenhofer, 2009. "Global accounting standards: reality and ambitions," Accounting Research Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 22(1), pages 68-80, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:arjpps:v:22:y:2009:i:1:p:68-80
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Benston, George J. & Bromwich, Michael & Litan, Robert E. & Wagenhofer, Alfred, 2006. "Worldwide Financial Reporting: The Development and Future of Accounting Standards," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195305838.
    2. Holger Daske & Luzi Hail & Christian Leuz & Rodrigo Verdi, 2008. "Mandatory IFRS Reporting around the World: Early Evidence on the Economic Consequences," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(5), pages 1085-1142, December.
    3. Feltham, Gerald & Indjejikian, Raffi & Nanda, Dhananjay, 2006. "Dynamic incentives and dual-purpose accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 417-437, December.
    4. Lambert, Richard A., 2001. "Contracting theory and accounting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-3), pages 3-87, December.
    5. Ball, Ray & Robin, Ashok & Wu, Joanna Shuang, 2003. "Incentives versus standards: properties of accounting income in four East Asian countries," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 235-270, December.
    6. Sunil Dutta, 2002. "Revenue Recognition in a Multiperiod Agency Setting," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 67-83, March.
    7. Qi Chen & Thomas Hemmer & Yun Zhang, 2007. "On the Relation between Conservatism in Accounting Standards and Incentives for Earnings Management," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 541-565, June.
    8. Christensen, Peter O. & Feltham, Gerald A. & Sabac, Florin, 2003. "Dynamic incentives and responsibility accounting: a comment," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 423-436, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Karen Benson & Peter M Clarkson & Tom Smith & Irene Tutticci, 2015. "A review of accounting research in the Asia Pacific region," Australian Journal of Management, Australian School of Business, vol. 40(1), pages 36-88, February.
    2. Christoph Kuhner & Christoph Pelger, 2015. "On the Relationship of Stewardship and Valuation—An Analytical Viewpoint," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 51(3), pages 379-411, September.
    3. repec:eee:crpeac:v:25:y:2014:i:1:p:17-26 is not listed on IDEAS

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