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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8605||2010||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The British Accounting Review, Volume 42, Issue 3, September 2010, Pages 137–152
This paper argues that the optimal design of accounting standards may depend on the institutional characteristics of the political and economic system. There are several varieties of capitalism, and it is not obvious which of these varieties is best. Moreover, the existence of different varieties of capitalism arguably promotes economic progress. This being the case the paper urges a cautious approach to the imposition of a single set of global accounting standards for all companies. The forced adoption of single form of accounting runs the risk of severely restricting the different forms of capitalism that can develop. It also privileges one particular way of doing business over alternative forms that currently exist or, more importantly, may exist in the future. In effect the forced adoption of a single form of accounting can be viewed as a form of restrictive practice that prevents alternative and superior ways of doing business from taking shape. International accounting standards optimised for stock market based capitalism are not necessarily optimal for other forms of capitalism and, since stock market capitalism has lost credibility as a way of doing business, the world may be better served by encouraging alternative forms of capitalism to develop with accounting standards tailored to their needs.
We live in interesting times. The UK, in particular, has suffered a major setback as a result of a worldwide recession caused by excessive credit expansion. These events have revealed enormous gaps in our understanding of how financial markets and financial governance systems work. Viewed through the philosophical prism of Rumsfeld we can safely conclude that the number of known unknowns has increased dramatically. Also the number of known knowns has decreased, in the sense that things we thought were known are now known to be unknown. Of course it is unknown whether the number of unknown unknowns has also increased. All we can say with certainty is that we now know the world is more uncertain than we previously knew. These momentous events have given rise to searching questions about the pace and fragility of stock market based globalisation as an economic and political process. Whereas just a couple of years ago the intellectual and political proponents of stock market based globalisation seemed to be defeating all who stood in their way, the intellectual and political opponents of the rush to stock market based globalisation now have an opportunity to be heard. Moreover even some of the proponents of stock market based globalisation as a long term aim, are beginning to ask more intelligent questions about the most appropriate pace with which this aim should be achieved. In particular the wisdom of replacing national institutions and regulatory safeguards built up over centuries with largely unrestricted free global markets in the presence of highly fragile global governance structures is beginning to run into serious opposition. One major issue requiring attention in relation to these events is the role of financial reporting in general and financial accounting standards in particular. The recent credit crunch has undermined confidence in the competence of accounting standard setters worldwide. How can it be that the financial reports of banks and other financial institutions failed to alert investors to the massive risk exposures they faced, often on the scale of billions of dollars? Are the accounting standards of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and other major standard setters good enough? Are they fit for purpose? World leaders have called for improved international accounting standards. On the 15th of November 2008, following a meeting of the G20 Heads of State, leaders of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and the Financial Stability Forum, the participants published a Declaration of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy. This declaration outlined an action plan for the reform of international financial institutions and markets. This action plan contained measures for strengthening transparency and accountability. The G20 plan calls for the “key global accounting standards bodies” to work intensively toward the objective of creating a single set of high-quality global accounting standards (see Appendix 1). Implicit in this statement is the view that current international accounting standards are not high quality. In the light of the recent collapse of the global financial system it is difficult to disagree with this view. However, the call by the G20 for the key accounting bodies to work toward a single high-quality global accounting standard is, in my view, highly questionable. When major financial scandals or collapses occur politicians often respond in haste. Sometimes the cures they propose turn out to have undesirable and unanticipated consequences e.g. Sarbanes–Oxley. Sometimes the proposed cure turns out to be a curse. Thus the purpose of this lecture is to explain why I believe that the call of the G20 for a single accounting standard is unwise. Why, that is, I think it would be a curse. My arguments are conditioned by a conviction that accounting policy, like all areas of social and economic policy, should be shaped as much as by acknowledging what we do not know as by what we do know. A call to frame a single set of accounting standards, based on an assumption that we know all we will ever need to know in order to frame such standards, seems to me to fail to comprehend the nature of the problem.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Thus I conclude that the world should consider establishing at least two sets of global accounting standards: Accounting standards for ‘liberal stock market economies’, and accounting standards for ‘coordinated market economies’. The first set of standards would focus on the information needs of stock market based investors where there is a high level of separation of ownership from control. The particular information requirements of investors in corporate debt markets, as well as equity markets, are also important here. Since such economies also rely heavily on the stock market for corporate control (through takeovers and mergers) information about the success or otherwise of past acquisitions is also important. Such economies exhibit a high demand for conditional conservatism, because of the high degree of separation between managers and investors. The role of shareholders as owners is paramount and it makes little sense to adopt an entity approach to financial reporting for such economies. In contrast coordinated market economies tend to have a stakeholder approach to corporate governance matters, and so an entity based approach to financial reporting makes more sense for such regimes. Such economies exhibit a high demand for inter-temporal smoothing and so accounting standards that encourage transparent unconditional conservatism and transparent income smoothing are likely to pass the market (and NCMI test) for such regimes. In such regimes the ownership and information rights of owners are given a lower level of priority, and the importance of takeovers as a control mechanism is also much lower. I suggest that liberal stock market economies, like and the U.S. and the U.K. should work together to produce a single set of accounting standards designed for use in liberal stock market economies. The current standards of the IASB may well prove to be a useful starting point for this purpose. Countries that are less wedded to stock market capitalism should be encouraged to devise a new set of international accounting standards that have general applicability in economies that are less dominated by the stock market. Frankly I doubt if the current set of standards devised by the IASB are suitable for this purpose. IASB standards have largely been designed with the needs of stock market economies in mind. If a set of coordinated market economy standards could be developed then they could be used by both listed and unlisted firms in such regimes, thereby facilitating better comparisons of unlisted and listed firms in and across coordinated regimes. A further important advantage of this approach is that the unlisted companies of coordinated stock market economies will not need to adopt a completely foreign way of accounting in order to gain a stock market listing. They will be able to adopt the new international accounting standards for coordinated market economies rather than having to adopt accounting standards designed for a completely different form of capitalism. Until such time that a set of international accounting standards for CMEs exists, I think the CMEs would be well advised to allow their listed firms to choose between their own domestic accounting standards and IFRS. Similarly The UK and the US should consider allowing their own listed firms to choose between their own domestic standards and IFRS. Institutional rules that narrow choice and restrict the development of requisite varieties of capitalism should be resisted. What would be the role of the IASB in this new accounting world order? My view is that there would be an important role for a body like the IASB within the varieties of capitalism approach to international accounting standard setting. This role would be to provide a set of international accounting standards that, perhaps with some tailoring, would be suitable for use in the capital markets of both liberal stock market economies and coordinated market economies. The IASB standards would facilitate the activities of multinational companies wishing to raise capital across liberal stock market and coordinated market regimes. Listed companies based in liberal or coordinated market regimes might be allowed to choose between liberal or coordinated accounting standards or the accounting standards of the IASB. This approach would provide a high degree of comparability of accounts across international stock markets.7