International accounting harmonisation - A comparison of Spain, Sweden and Austria
Despite attempts to secure harmonisation of accounting practice, significant variations in accounting rules and practice continue to arise in European countries, variations which give rise to compliance costs for multinational companies. Firstly, this paper considers the relevance of international accounting harmonisation for European business. It then proceeds to examine accounting regulation in three countries: Spain, Sweden and Austria, highlighting the key regulatory issues of the 'true and fair' view requirement and the link between taxation and accounting. The three countries are selected because of the interesting contrasts which they provide; these contrasts are examined in detail in the paper. The work is based upon a series of interviews carried out with leading accounting practitioners in the three countries during 1996-97. The paper concludes that there are significant obstacles to accounting harmonisation in Europe and that there is potential for continuing diversity of national accounting practice.
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