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Truth and Fairness in Accounting: A Case of Polish Transition Economy


  • Katarzyna Kosmala MacLullich


This paper addresses issues of financial reporting within the context of European harmonisation and accession. The construct of the True and Fair View (hereafter TFV) constitutes a locus of reflection for the establishment of a mutually intelligible foundation for financial reporting in the New Europe. The Audit Act 1994 and Accounting Act 1994, as amended by the 2000 Acts, incorporate the provisions of European law with the aim of harmonising Polish accounting and financial reporting regulations with the corresponding regulations in the EU. It was the Accounting Act 1994 which for the first time introduced in Poland the actual wording of the TFV concept in accordance with the requirements of the 4th Directive. This paper demonstrates the particular local understanding of the TFV concept in contemporary Poland through (1) textual analysis of the legal pronouncements (both national and international) and (2) narrative analysis of local debates and commentaries in the national press and academic journals. Given the difficulty in expressing judgements based upon accumulated experience, where much of the experience is constituted by regulatory arrangements of a centrally planned economy, Polish audit practice perceives the TFV requirement primarily as a formal, legal compliance, and not as something yet with a substantial rationale. The paper concludes that TFV is a contingent construct which resides in a particular socio-economic, historic and cultural context and is differently understood outside this context. The local Polish context is presented where a vacuum created in business practices by the loss of the old rules has not been yet filled by the new philosophy of public accountability and transparency.

Suggested Citation

  • Katarzyna Kosmala MacLullich, 2001. "Truth and Fairness in Accounting: A Case of Polish Transition Economy," CERT Discussion Papers 0102, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hwe:certdp:0102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Danuta Krzywda & Derek Bailey & Marek Schroeder, 1998. "The development of the role of the statutory audit in the transitional Polish economy," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 407-440.
    2. Derek Bailey, 1995. "Accounting in transition in the transitional economy," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(4), pages 595-623.
    3. Alicja Jaruga & Ewa Walinska & Andrzej Baniewicz, 1996. "The relationship between accounting and taxation in Poland," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 883-897.
    4. David Alexander, 1996. "Truer and fairer. Uninvited comments on invited comments," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 483-493.
    5. N/A, 1996. "Note:," Foreign Trade Review, , vol. 31(1-2), pages 1-1, January.
    6. Karel Van Hulle, 1997. "The true and fair view override in the European Accounting Directives," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 711-720.
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    Cited by:

    1. Parmod Chand & Michael White, 2006. "The Influence of Culture on Judgments of Accountants in Fiji," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 16(40), pages 82-88, November.

    More about this item


    Financial reporting; Poland; true and fair view;

    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance


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