Introduction The expansion of International Trade and the accessibility to foreign stock and debt market has given rise to an increase debate on whether or not there is need to be a global set of accounting standards. As companies compete globally for scarce resources, investors and creditors as well as multinational companies are required to bear the cost of reconciling financial statements that are prepared using national standards. It was argued that a common set of practices will provide a “level playing field” for all companies worldwide (Murphy, 2000).
IFRS are standards and interpretations adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). They include: International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Accounting Standards (IAS) and interpretation originated by the International Reporting Standards Interpretation Committee (IFRSIC) (Oyedele, 2011). IFRS represent a single set of high quality, globally accepted accounting standards that can enhance comparability of financial reporting across the globe.
This increased comparability of financial information could result in better investment decisions and ensure a more optimal allocation of resources across the global economy (Jacob and Madu, 2009). Cai and Wong (2010) posited that having a single set of internationally acceptable financial reporting standards will eliminate the need for restatement of financial statements, yet ensure accounting diversity among countries, thus facilitating cross-border movement of capital and greater integration of the global financial markets.
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History and Development of IFRS Globalization of capital markets is an irreversible process because of the development and growth in science and technology; there are many potential benefits to be gained from mutually recognized and respected international accounting standards. To bridge the gap between accounting standards among countries, the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) was founded in 1973 by a group of professional accounting practitioners.
The IASC was to formulate uniform and global accounting standards aimed at reducing the discrepancies in international accounting principles and reporting practices. In this light, the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) was established. Since its establishment the IASC has actively been championing the uniformity and standardization of accounting principles for over two decades (Carlson, 1997). In April 2001, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) took over the setting of International Accounting Standards from the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC).
Thenceforth, the IASB updated the already existing International Accounting Standards and referred to them as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Many of the standards forming part of IFRS are known by the older name of International Accounting Standards (IAS). IASs were issued between 1973 and 2001 by the Board of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC). In Nigeria, adoption of IFRS was launched in September 2010, by the Honorable Minister, Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins-kuye (OFR).
The adoption was organized such that all stakeholders use the IFRS by January 2014. The adoption was scheduled to start with Public Listed Entities and Significant Public Interest Entities who are expected to adopt the IFRS by January 2012. All Other Public Interest Entities are expected to mandatorily adopt the IFRS for statutory purposes by January 2013, and Small and Medium-sized Entities shall mandatorily adopt IFRS by January 2014. The Importance of IFRS
The adoption of uniform standards cut the costs of doing business across borders by reducing the need for supplementary information. They make information more comparable, thereby enhancing evaluation and analysis by users of financial statements (Adekoye, 2011). Users become more confident of the information they are provided with and presumably, this reduces uncertainty, promotes an efficient allocation of resources and reduces capital costs (Ahmed, 2011).
Esptein (2009), emphasized the fact that universal financial reporting standards will increase market liquidity, decrease transaction costs for investors, lower cost of capital and facilitate international capital formation and flows, various studies conducted on the adoption of IFRS at country level indicated that countries that adopted IFRS experienced huge increases in direct foreign investment (DFI) flows across countries (Irvine and Lucas, 2006). Cai & Wong (2010),in a study of global capital markets demonstrated that capital markets of countries that had adopted IFRS recorded high degree of ntegration among them after their IFRS adoption compared with the period before adoption. In a study on financial data of public listed companies in 15 member states of the European Union (EU) before and after full adoption of IFRS in 2005, Chai at al (2010), found that majority of accounting quality indicators improved after IFRS adoption in the EU. The IFRS enhances comparability and transparency of reported results, easier cross-border stock exchange listings and foreign capital funding, additional and better quality financial information for shareholders and supervisory authorities, improved quality and efficiency of financial report.
Impact of IFRS As a major change program, IFRS conversion affects many parts of our organization, including systems, processes and the wider business. Therefore ultimately, IFRS success depends heavily on how effectively accountants around the world are informed about the process and their willingness to adapt to or embrace change. IFRS could have a positive or negative impact on the financial statements. For example, recognition of interest income using effective interest method may negatively impact profitability as some of the credit related fees will form part of effective interest rate computation.
However, the extent of the impact usually depends on the accounting policies adopted. The impact of IFRS transcends beyond accounting and financial reporting contrary to general misconception. Beyond finance, strategies, processes, people and systems will also be impacted by the conversion exercise. The following are some of the areas in which IFRS can affect our businesses: Systems and processes: IFRS will definitely change the overall presentation and contents of financial statements e. . more disclosures is required in the financial statements; consequently, there is a need to make amendments such as reconfiguration of existing systems, interface and mapping changes, changes to the chart of accounts etc. to generate IFRS compliant financial statements. Performance Management: Performance measures are going to be significantly affected as the effective interest calculation of income, impairment calculation and fair-valuation calculation will impact performance results.
Staff whose performance targets have previously been set using Nigerian GAAP calculations will need to be informed of the impact of IFRS on attaining these targets on their remuneration and the amount of effort that would be required to meet these targets under IFRS. Management reporting: Extensive impact on management reporting resulting in new forms of analysis and reporting. People and Communication: The conversion to IFRS will create a competency and knowledge especially financial control staff. However extensive training and communication plans will be in place to bridge those gaps.
In addition to the aforementioned, the conversion exercise may have impacts on a large number of departments outside Finance including Human Resources, Information Technology, Risk Management, Business Development, Internal audit etc. For example, HR personnel will need to understand the impact of IFRS on staff loans. Some Key Risks Associated With Converting to IFRS Some of the key risks management should be aware of include: Lack of effective communication of the impacts of change to stakeholders the board, audit committees, investors and analyst, the impacts on internal controls and the related processes.
Excessive costs and work levels resulting from ineffective planning and the inability by management to conclude and certify on the design or effectiveness of the company’s internal controls over financial reporting. Enforcement of Financial reporting Standards in Countries around the Globe and the Key Difficulties Faced in the Implementation of the Financial reporting Standards NIGERIA There are a number of institutions and agencies in Nigeria which provide guidelines that determine what information, and in what format such information, should be included in financial reports.
Such institutions are the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Accounting Standards Boards (NASB). Now the Financial Reporting Commercial (FRC), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). These institutions are ready to give up on Nigeria’s GAAP and adopt IFRS from 2012 (Hassab, Epps and Said, 2001; Iyoha and Jimoh, 2011). Mukthar, (2009) sserts that, there is no better time than now to contribute to the debate for the need and feasibility of adopting the IFRS as a financial reporting framework in Nigeria. This is due to the pronouncements by the banker’s committee (a committee of Managing Directors of banks and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to the effect that banks and all listed companies should prepare financial statements in accordance with the IFRS. Such pronouncements were made considering that complying with IFRS will facilitate transparency and lead to more disclosure in financial statements which will be useful to stakeholders, especially foreign stakeholders.
IFRS-based financial statements stand to have added advantage in their business relationships with their correspondent banks, multilateral institutions and international investors. Companies that prepare IFRS-based financial statements are also expected to get some boost in their rating. Adoption of the IFRS in Nigeria commenced in January, 2012. UNITED KINGDOM The enforcement of IFRS is under European Enforcement Coordination sessions (EECS) and Committee of European Securities Regulations (CESR). In the UK the body responsible for enforcement of the IFRS is the Financial Reporting Review Panel.
Rolf (2010) suggests in through the CESR Annual Reports in 2010 that harmonization and the enforcement of the IFRS in Europe facilitate an efficient single capital market in Europe within the context of evolving EU legislation. UK’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has since pronounced that publicly traded companies in UK should apply the International Accounting Standard in their individual financial reporting and that all EU listed companies were required to prepare their consolidated Financial Statements under IFRS effective from January, 2005 (ICAEW, 2006’ AECA, 2010 and Rolf, 2010).
PricewaterhouseCoopers (2009) has confirmed that the U. K has since complied with the requirement; also small companies (SMEs) were required to report under IFRS effective from January 1, 2012. TURKEY Sigma, (1995) and Sigma and Hosal, 2005) observed that in 1980, a series of economic decisions following the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recommendations were taken to reduce the inflation rate, increase production, and support importing activities. In the reconstruction period starting in the early 1980s, Act No. 499 was put into effect in 1981 by the Parliament to prepare the grounds for establishing the Capital Markets Board (CMB). BRAZIL Brazil is incorporating its accounting standards with the IFRS. According to UNCTAD (2008), the main institutions leading the convergence process are the Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM), the Brazilian Institute of Independent Auditors (IBRACON), and the Central Bank of Brazil. A number of developments have recently advanced the country’s progress towards IFRS.
The Central Bank of Brazil announced that as from 2010 all financial institutions under its supervision will be required to prepare their consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS. UNCTAD (2008) also reports that the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission has promoted efforts by companies listed in capital markets in Brazil to gradually adopt IFRS. For example, the CVM has been working more closely with IBRACON to accelerate convergence with IFRS and regulatory members.
Companies listed on Sao Paulo Stock Exchange’s New Market are required to provide financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS or to the US-GAAP, in addition to those that are prepared under Brazilian accounting standards. The Committee of Accounting Pronouncements was set up in Brazil, whose objective will be to achieve full adoption of IFRS in the country. INDIA Ravindra and Shrikhadi (2010) observed that there is a growing international consensus on the International Financial Reporting Standards as acceptable standards for assessment of the financial health of a company across the globe. Based on the recommendations of the core group set up to facilitate IFRS convergence in India, its Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) announced the approach and timelines for achieving convergence with IFRS. Also the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) commenced the process of issuing IFRS equivalent accounting standards. ICAI stated that for companies with exposure in European markets through equity or debt, transparency on IFRS is essential to cheap capital and hence, the proactive approach. ICAI set a time line of 2011 for compulsory switch over to the new standards.
SOUTH AFRICA The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and the Accounting Practices Board (APB) of South Africa has recognized the need to be part of a global economy with respect to financial reporting. Local accounting standards in South Africa have been harmonized with international accounting standards since 1993. In February 2004, a decision was taken by the APB to issue the text of IFRS as South African statements of GAAP without any amendments (SIACA, 2006).
The reasons for the ongoing harmonizing and the issuing of the text of IFRS as South African statements of GAAP were: for South African companies to attract foreign investment, to provide credibility to the financial statements of South African companies in the global market, and to do away with the need for dual listed entities to prepare financial statements in accordance with more than one set of accounting standards (Deloitte, 2006). ZIMBABWE Zimbabwe faces a challenge of high inflation that is affecting the wholesome application of the IFRS.
The Institution of Chartered Accountants Zimbabwe (ICAZ, 2010) recommends that the IFRS should be in full application by end of 2010. Although Zimbabwe has economic challenges, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange it has said that IFRS compliance is mandatory to all listed companies in its Stock Exchange (Tom, 2010). Currently, a ZSE panel of experts is responsible for checking IFRS compliance. It encourages accurate and correct presentation of companies’ financial accounts including historical data and internationally comparable balance sheets and disclosure.
This makes it easier for investors, including external investors. The ZSE (ZSE, 2010) added that IFRS for SME is compulsory which was expected to commence by January, 2011, also the local GAAP which was based on the 1998 version was expected to translate into IFRS. The local tax authority has yet to adopt or convergence plans of tax reporting to the IFRS. KENYA Kenya is one of the earliest countries to adopt the use of the IAS and IFRS in 1999. UNCTAD (2008) confirms that over the years, Kenya has developed a wealth of experience in the use of IFRS, which provide useful insights in he development of strategies by International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) to aid other countries in the implementation of IFRS. There a lone stock market in Kenya, the Nairobi Stock Exchange, in which the shares of about 50 companies are traded. In addition to these listed companies, there is also a sizeable number of companies which are either multinationals or companies owned privately by the nationals, as well as a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In terms of financial reporting, all the companies are required to prepare financial statements based on IFRS.
In most cases, however, SMEs would prepare financial statements for use by the tax authorities or by the banks for purposes of accessing credit. Other public interest companies such as banks, insurance companies, cooperative societies and non-governmental organizations also prepare accounts in accordance with IFRS (Caroline, 2010). UGANDA The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU, 2009) stipulates that Uganda has adopted IASs, SIC IFRSs and IFRIC without amendment since 1998. All openly accountable bodies are obliged to present their financial statements in compliance with full IFRS.
In additional, Uganda has instructed on the application of IFRS for SMEs at the beginning of 2010. Uganda Security Exchange (USE, 2010) directed that all foreign or national companies listed on the stock exchange to comply with IFRS when the time of reporting was due. TANZANIA According to Tanzania’s National Board of Accountants and Auditors (NBAA, 2009), Tanzania shifted to IFRSs, IPSASs, and ISAs with effect from July, 2004. In that effect, compliance required all preparations of financial statements to be in accordance with the IFRSs no matter the size of the firm.
Pacter (2010), observed that publicly accountable entities were required to use full IFRS including the entities that offer shares to the public, financial institutions such as banks, insurance, pension funds, mutual funds, security brokers or dealers. Also, entities that have essential public service such as utilities; and non-publicly accountable entities are permitted to use the IFRS for SMEs. In that case, all bodies using IFRS for SMEs should apply those pronouncements as issued by the IASB in full and without modification. CANADA
In January 2006, the Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) adopted a strategic plan for embracing IFRSs across the whole country for all public companies and other profit-oriented enterprises that are responsible to large or diverse groups of shareholders in Canada. From that time, AcSB proposed on its section 1506 to house the approval of IFRSs (Peter, Michael, and Ken, 2008, Deloitte, 2011). Peter (2008) recommended that: “The AcSB has recently confirmed January 1, 2011 as the changeover date to which IFRSs was supposed to replace current Canadian Standards and interpretations as GAAP” UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AICPA (2011) asserts that as far as the USA is concerned; the enforcement of IFRS has taken the following forms. From 2001 to 2004 USA has made effort to implement IFRS. In 2005; The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a roadmap allowing IFRS filings without GAAP reconciliation for foreign firms by 2009. In 2006; The IASB and the FASB agree to work on a number of major projects. In 2007; The SEC announced that it will accept from foreign filers in the U. S. financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS, as issued by the IASB, without reconciliation with U.
S. GAAP. Also, the SEC issued a Concept Release asking if U. S. public companies should be given an option to follow IFRS instead of U. S. GAAP. In2008;The SEC was expected to vote on a proposal creating a timeline for moving U. S. public companies to IFRS, also, the FASB and the IASB updated the Norwalk Agreement with the goal of accelerating convergence. In 2009; the IASB ended its moratorium, set in 2005, on the required application of new accounting standards and major amendments to existing standards. The board had frozen its rules while more countries adopted IFRS.
In 2011; Canadian and Indian companies are slated to begin using the global standards, and Japan was slated to have eliminated all major differences between Japanese GAAP and IFRS. In the United States, questions concerning IFRS are expected to be included in the Uniform CPA examination. Year 2013 is the earliest year projected by accounting firms for mandating that large U. S. public companies convert their financials to IFRS, year that the updated Norwalk Agreement expects all major capital markets to operate from one set of accounting tandards (AICPA, 2011). The year 2015 is earliest year the SEC would allow public companies to convert their financials to IFRS (AICPA, 2011). JAPAN Japan financial reporting is guided by both international and domestic factors which fall under the Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ). From 2004 to 2010, the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accounts (JICPA) along with ASBJ has made a tremendous move towards the harmonization between Japanese GAAP and IFRS. Some problems remained unsolved as they have to be worked on by 30 June, 2011 (Afaanz, 2011).
According to ( Global Glimpses, 2009) and (Smart, 2012), Japan allowed a number of international companies the use of IFRS and some local companies to use them on their own choice for the year ending March 31, 2010. In 2012, the decision about the mandatory adoption of IFRS by 2016 is expected by the year 2013. HONG KONG Starting in 2005, Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (HKFRS) were made identical to the IFRS. While Hong Kong had adopted many of the earlier IAS as Hong Kong standards, some had not been adopted, including IAS 38 and IAS 39.
All of the December, 2003 improvements and new and revised IFRS issued in 2004 and 2005 started taking effect in Hong Kong beginning from 2010. In 2005, implementing Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards, the challenge sets out a summary of each standard and interpretation. The key changes it makes to accounting in Hong Kong, the most significant implications of its adoption, and related anticipated future developments. There are some Hong Kong standards and several Hong Kong interpretations that do not have counterparts in IFRS.
Also there were several minor wording differences between HKFRS and IFRS (Deloitte, 2008 Tyrone, 2010). CHINA Chinese government had conducted series of accounting standard reforms in 1992, 2001 and 2006 in which each replaced the previous. According to Gingham and Haitao (2010) the Chinese accounting standards were considered to be in great conformity with IFRS. This developments confirm response to the emerging stock market and the increasing demand of foreign investors in China.
Karthik, Donavan and Nancy (2005) and Romanna (2010) have however remarked that although in 2005 China converged with IFRS, but not in full compliance with IFRS requirements. The Chinese Accounting Standards Committee (CASC) is the body charged with developing accounting standards in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (Elmer, 2011). CASC had issued new standards regarding cash flow statement, lease and other standards in conformity with the IFRS. In February 2006, the Chinese Ministry of Finance promulgated the introduction of Chinese Accounting standards based on IFRS.
In January, 2007, China was obliged to adopt the IFRS so as to get placed into the global capital market (Zhang, Andrew and Collier, 2007). China is considered being the fourth world economy with far reaching economic effect regarding the application of IFRS. Afaanz (2011) argues that although China is adopting the IFRS there are challenges converging domestic standards with the IFRS expected to have been concluded by December 2011, and the application of IFRS to all companies big, small and medium effective January 2012.
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