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


  • Erlend Kvaal
  • Christopher Nobes


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Erlend Kvaal & Christopher Nobes, 2012. "IFRS Policy Changes and the Continuation of National Patterns of IFRS Practice," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 343-371, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:343-371
    DOI: 10.1080/09638180.2011.611236

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    1. Burietz, Aurore & Oosterlinck, Kim & Szafarz, Ariane, 2017. "Europe vs. the U.S.: A new look at the syndicated loan pricing puzzle," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 50-53.
    2. Christian Stadler & Christopher W. Nobes, 2014. "The Influence of Country, Industry, and Topic Factors on IFRS Policy Choice," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 50(4), pages 386-421, December.
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    4. 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.
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    7. Stefan Sundgren & Juha Mäki & Antonio Somoza-Lopez, 2013. "Cross-Country Differences in Disclosure Quality: a Study of Fair Value Disclosures by European Real Estate Companies," Working Papers 1307, Departament Empresa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, revised Oct 2013.
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    9. Giuseppe Sannino & Gianluca Ginesti & Carlo Drago, 2014. "Impairment estimates for available-for-sale equity instruments under IFRS: evidence from italian Banks," FINANCIAL REPORTING, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(2-3-4), pages 115-140.
    10. repec:eee:spacre:v:18:y:2015:i:1:p:99-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Humayun Kabir & Fawzi Laswad, 2015. "The Impact of Improvements in Institutional Oversight on IFRS Accrual Quality in Europe," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 25(4), pages 428-444, December.
    12. Flagmeier, Vanessa & Müller, Jens, 2016. "Tax loss carryforward disclosure and uncertainty," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 208, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    13. Hirsch, Julia & Walz, Uwe, 2016. "The financing dynamics of newly founded firms," SAFE Working Paper Series 153, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    14. David Procházka, 2015. "Is a Full International Accounting Convergence Desirable?," Český finanční a účetní časopis, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2015(3), pages 7-23.
    15. Matthew J. Bloomfield & Ulf Brüggemann & Hans B. Christensen & Christian Leuz, 2017. "The Effect of Regulatory Harmonization on Cross-Border Labor Migration: Evidence from the Accounting Profession," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 35-78, March.
    16. Ugo Lassini & Andrea Lionzo & Francesca Rossignoli, 2016. "Does business model affect accounting choices? An empirical analysis of European listed companies," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(2), pages 229-260, June.
    17. Bernard Raffournier, 2013. "Has accounting quality increased in Europe after IFRS adoption?," FINANCIAL REPORTING, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(2), pages 71-78.
    18. Fatima Baalbaki Shibly & Pascal Dumontier, 2014. "Qui a le plus profité de l’adoption des IFRS en France ?," Post-Print halshs-01181221, HAL.
    19. Francesco Avallone & Claudia Gabbioneta & Paola Ramassa & Marco Sorrentino, 2015. "Why Do Firms Write Off Their Goodwill? A Comparison of Different Accounting Systems," FINANCIAL REPORTING, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(1), pages 23-40.
    20. Flagmeier, Vanessa, 2017. "The information content of tax loss carryforwards: IAS 12 vs. valuation allowance," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 216, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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