IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:21:y:2012:i:2:p:343-371. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.