بررسی هماهنگ سازی حسابداری بین المللی با استفاده از دیالکتیک هگلی، سازه های ریاضی، فوکو
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|279||2007||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6987 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 18, Issue 6, September 2007, Pages 739–757
This paper applies an innovative approach to explore the processes, effects and likely future progress of the convergence of national accounting standards with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Particular use is made of the Hegelian dialectic concepts of thesis, antithesis and synthesis; notions of isomorphism and decoupling; and, to a lesser extent, Foucault's concept of power–knowledge. Factors that are likely to explain the extent, rhythm and pattern of convergence of national accounting standards with IFRS are discussed. The paper concludes by highlighting four matters that are thought likely to enhance understanding of the process of international accounting standards harmonization; and by averring that the international harmonization process is a dialectical process influenced by belief systems that are constructed in a context of isomorphism and decoupling.
This paper aims to improve understanding of the processes involved in achieving widespread institutionalization of harmonized international accounting standards, particularly International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). It is prompted by Hopwood's (2000, p. 763) contention that “knowledge of how forms of financial accounting emerge from, sustain and modify wider institutional and social structures is modest.” The paper is motivated also by Hopwood's criticism that previous attempts to enhance such knowledge have overindulged in “… simplistic theories of differentiation … deep rooted notions of cultural understanding and … psychological appreciations of institutional differences” (Hopwood, 2000, p. 763). An innovative analytical approach is deployed, in which accounting harmonization is conceived as interpretable through three complementing lenses. First, and most important, is the lens provided by Hegelian dialectic. This views the world as one of constant change arising from thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Second, is the lens through which the institutionalization of accounting is viewed as being effected by coercive, normative and mimetic isomorphism, and by a process of decoupling. Third, is the lens provided by Foucault's concept of knowledge and power. Using these three lenses, this paper seeks to assist those associated with international accounting standards harmonization (whether they be issuers, appliers, or users of resultant financial statements) by providing better explanations of how international harmonization has evolved, how it has affected institutional and social structures, and how it might progress in the future. The push for global adoption of IFRS is part of a general wave of standardization that has taken place in broader, non-accounting contexts over the past 150 years. Such standardization has been described aptly as part of “the general constellation of developments … known as modernity” (Menzies, 2005, p. 23). The world has witnessed the standardization of time, weights and measures, means of communication, and methods of production1; and has seen the growth of numerous organizations (e.g., International Organization for Standardization) “through which regulation by international technical standards has replaced regulation by national policy” (Menzies, 2005, p. 29). Consequently, in modern society, the global harmonization of accounting standards might be regarded as uncontroversial, unremarkable, and inevitable. Nonetheless, it is only within the last two decades that the international harmonization of accounting standards has gained widespread and effective acceptance (Cooper et al., 2003, p. 359). Although the move to harmonize accounting standards throughout the world is politically intricate, theoretically complex, and operationally uncertain, the drive to do so has strong impetus (Chand, 2005, p. 209). Many arguments about the merits of global harmonization of accounting standards have been advanced. These are referred to as the thesis. A central pillar of such arguments has been free culture theory. This holds that all users of financial statements have the same needs in all countries and that economic transactions can be measured universally in accounting terms using the same procedures (Mora, 1995). Militating against this view (the antithesis) is environmental determinism theory: that accounting should be a product of the unique environment in which it operates (Gernon and Wallace, 1995). Consequently, an important question that arises in debates about international accounting harmonization is whether accounting ought to be conceived as truly universal or as subject to variation because of environmental factors. To capture the broad process of international accounting standards harmonization, this paper introduces key elements of Hegelian dialecticism (thesis, antithesis and synthesis) in order to foster understanding of the macro-dynamics associated with global accounting harmonization agendas.2 It then explains various relevant forms of isomorphism, the concept of decoupling, and salient features of Foucault's concept of knowledge and power. Thereafter, the current thesis and antithesis regarding global accounting standards harmonization is outlined, and a synthesis already achieved, and the several others likely to emerge are explained. Finally, the paper reflects on the current state of the global accounting standards harmonization agenda and offers some conjectures about future developments.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The analysis in this paper facilitates understanding of the process of international accounting standards harmonization in at least four ways. 6.1. Convergence of accounting standards is a dialectical process of thesis, antithesis and synthesis The thesis that international accounting harmonization would be advantageous globally was spawned in the early 20th century (Gbenedio et al., 1998). This thesis became stronger, the IASC was created in 1973, and an antithesis developed. When a thesis is negated by its antithesis in such manner, a new synthesis results. It becomes a new thesis which can, in turn, be negated by a new antithesis. There is an on-going Hegelian process of new thesis generation. The current synthesis in the EU is that IFRS should be adopted in the preparation of consolidated accounts by companies with shares listed for sale on major stock markets; and that other companies should be permitted to adopt IFRS. However, because IFRS are (allegedly) high quality accounting standards, the thesis that IFRS should be used by all companies, including unlisted companies and SMEs, still persists. Such a thesis is supported by big international accounting firms, who caution that “a two standard system, where some companies continue to use national GAAP, may be difficult to maintain in the long-run … [and] … governments and national standard setters [should] develop formal convergence plans to eliminate these dual standards” (Larson and Street, 2004, p. 113). The antithesis to this seems likely to be that it is naive to assume a single regulatory framework can be established to meet all financial reporting needs of all societies (Chand and White, 2005). The first synthesis of the convergence process has already occurred. For many years the IASB considered that IFRS should be adopted by all companies. However, in January 2005 the IASB recognized the need for differential reporting. Social and cultural differences make it very difficult to apply IFRS to individual accounts in many European countries and it will be very interesting to discern the synthesis to emerge in this regard. 6.2. Convergence is a process of isomorphism that works well when institutions and environments are similar Coercive isomorphism can be seen in EC Regulation No. 1606/2002. From 2005 onwards, this requires the adoption of IFRS in preparing consolidated accounts of listed companies of EU member states. Another form of coercive isomorphism is when a parent company pressures its subsidiaries to use IFRS. Normative isomorphism can be seen in many countries in the convergence of national accounting standards with IFRS; in the rhetoric of large international accounting firms (that all companies should adopt IFRS, and advise their customers accordingly); in the teaching of IFRS in accounting curricula in universities; and in the rhetoric of professional accounting bodies (urging adoption of IFRS). Non-listed companies in the EU are permitted, but are not required, to use IFRS from 2005 onwards. If several of them opted to use IFRS, their adoption would probably not be for competitive reasons. Rather, it would more likely be to establish reputations for being rational, modern adopters of fashionable business techniques—and to be seen consorting with the IFRSs display of responsibility and legitimacy. This is mimetic isomorphism: companies model themselves on organizations they consider to be more legitimate or successful. This kind of isomorphism is expected to become more prominent in coming years. Although IFRS are mandatory for unlisted companies in countries within the EU, some of them will adopt IFRS in their consolidated financial statements to enhance their image and perceived legitimacy. Whatever form of isomorphism is influential, it should be acknowledged that the manner of effecting convergence varies widely to suit local contexts and country-specific contextual factors: for example, there has been full and immediate adoption of IFRS; full adoption of IFRS with time lags; selective adoption of IFRS; and the development of national standards based on IFRS. 6.3. Convergence in diverse environmental contexts is likely to be affected by decoupling Isomorphism is much more likely to occur in environments in which there are similar institutions. The more diverse the environment where two companies are located, the more likely it is that they will operate differently and that the financial reporting standards they apply will differ as well. If local companies in one country do not have dealings with companies from other countries, it is much harder for isomorphism to occur. Companies are not consensual bodies and this can give rise to resistance, power struggles and contradictions. As a result, decoupling, or idiosyncratic national interpretations, seem likely to be observed because of institutional pressures to adopt international accounting standards that differ from national standards. Decoupling can arise for several reasons: cultural barriers in understanding the Anglo-American model of accounting; difficulties in translating standards to convey the intended meaning of the English text and IFRS; use of terminology that is incapable of translation into some languages; and the complexity and difficulty to implementing IFRS. Companies may argue that they are applying IFRS, but full compliance with IFRS may not be in operation. Instead, the norm may be that of ostensible compliance—a form of window-dressing to appease capital markets or other users of financial information. Developing countries should be cautious and adopt standards that are relevant and useful for them. They should resist the temptation to engage in structural isomorphism before evaluating the costs and benefits involved in implementing IFRS (Chand, 2005). Countries should not adopt IFRS unquestioningly. Before imposing IFRS (a process of coercive isomorphism) there is a need to improve the level of professional expertise in IFRS internationally, and to achieve better education in IFRS (Chand, 2005). This is a process of normative isomorphism. 6.4. The extent of convergence will depend on whether knowledge about the discourse of IFRS becomes power The institutionalization of supranational accounting standards is a profoundly political activity, reflecting the relative power of organized interests and actors (Dillard et al., 2004, p. 510). Successive syntheses can be regarded usefully as a consequence of knowledge-power relationships, as conceived by Foucault. Convergence (or isomorphism) with IFRS will occur if institutions believe convergence offers the best way forward and is conceived as being right and normal. The two most prominent, vitally interested actors in the quest for such institutionalization are the IASB and the US FASB. In recent years, the US FASB has been de-throned from its dominant international position of power in accounting.8 Devotees of a Foucauldian view of the world would probably maintain that the FASB, miffed by its fall from dominant power on the international accounting stage, is trying to redeem its position of international prestige and power; and that its current tactics are a none-too-subtle attempt to infiltrate the IASB to “gain knowledge of the discourse of IFRS.” The US FASB and IASB have “acknowledged their commitment to the development of high-quality, compatible accounting standards that could be used for both domestic and cross-border financial reporting” (www.iasb.org IASB Press Releases, Norwalk Agreement of October 2002).9 Though they are competing with each other for hegemonic influence (or relative power) over the future development of accounting internationally, they have joined forces, arguing that by doing so, there will be cost efficiencies for business and greater safeguards for the public. Whichever synthesis is observed in coming years will result from a belief system that will gain momentum and power. This belief system will influence the level of observed structural isomorphism and institutional (that is, coercive, normative and mimetic) isomorphism. Belief systems that consider IFRS to be a panacea for the problems of accounting in a globalized world are often constructed from neo-liberal arguments and the need to sustain international capitalism. However, belief systems should consider social, cultural and historical forces as important as market forces in debate about better financial reporting. The conventional accounting standards for corporate accountability “privileges economic growth over social needs,” and accounting should prioritise social and environmental interest on par with economic ones” (Saravanamuthu, 2004, p. 300–1). Inevitably it seems, belief systems will be constructed from the taken-for-granted assumptions about what constitutes appropriate and acceptable financial reporting. Whatever becomes institutionalized practice will depend on the power of the organizational actors “who support, oppose, or otherwise strive to influence it” (DiMaggio, 1988, p. 13). International and regional bodies (like the EU), the State and professions, who were “the great rationalizers of the second half of the 20th century” (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983, p. 147), will remain so in the first decades of the 21st century. They will exercise power to shape international financial reporting by imposing constraints, articulating rationales and formulating requirements regarding international accounting standards. A dialectic approach to analysing and assessing international accounting harmonization can lead to a better understanding of the evolution and institutionalization of IFRS. It seems highly likely that structural and institutional isomorphism of financial reporting (especially its coercive, normative and mimetic varieties) will continue in the coming years. The synthesis achieved will result from a belief system that will gain power and momentum—one constructed by organizational actors who support, oppose or strive to influence the international harmonization process. The evolution of this belief system will be important in defining the nature and the extent of the future adoption of IFRS. It seems likely that more people will consider the process of isomorphism of financial reporting as important, while not forgetting the socially constructed nature of accounting and the need for it to adjust to social context. For future research we recommend exploration of the evolution of belief systems arising from the possession of knowledge–power. Having achieved a synthesis – in terms of differential reporting by SMEs – it will be instructive to monitor whether financial reporting models evolve to a further synthesis on cultural, social and environmental needs (Saravanamuthu, 2004). The power of organizational actors who variously support, oppose, or strive to influence the processes of convergence in accounting and of the construction of belief systems, will also merit close monitoring.