The growth of international activities has been rapid over time. These activities include areas of international trade, international investment, international bond and equity offerings, capital movements between countries and the number of multinational firms. Countries, entities and bodies who carry out these activities continuously seek to achieve growth and higher returns at lower cost of financing. This implies that there is often the need to consider international rather than national or internal alternatives of raising finance. The differences in accounting systems and principles that exist in different countries are a barrier to towards the comparability of financial information that is published by companies using different sets of accounting standards (Alexander, 2007).
This led to ‘the pressure for international harmonization to regulate, prepare and use financial statements which are reliable, comparable and transparent (Nobes and Parker, 2000). This can only be achieved if countries employ the same accounting standards through the harmonization of accounting principles. International harmonization may be defined as a political process aimed at reducing the differences in accounting practices across the world in order to achieve comparability and compatibility (Hoarau, 1996). To achieve this feat, accounting regulators such as the IASB have attempted to advance harmonization projects in an attempt to minimize differences between different national accounting standards (O’Regan, 2006).
As argued by Choi et al (2002), harmonization will make it more likely for users of financial statements to interpret the information correctly and make better decisions based on that information. It will also reduce drastically the information asymmetry between stakeholders and companies and hence save manpower, money and resources.
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), issuers of International Accounting Standards (IASs) was established in 2001 and is the independent standard-setting body of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) Foundation, an independent, private sector whose principal objectives are to develop in the public interest, a set of high quality, understandable, enforceable and globally accepted international financial reporting standards (IFRSs) based on clearly articulated accounting principles. IFRSs are a set of high quality, understandable, enforceable and globally accepted Standards based on clearly articulated accounting principles.
The need for International Accounting Standards 国际会计准则的需要
The international investor
The information age and the advent of high-tech computers makes possible the availability of massive amounts of international financial information. Institutional and individuals who are interested in making international investments can therefore benefit from the global harmonization of accounting standards.
International Accounting firms
The role of international accounting firms include providing auditing and consulting services in many countries. The absence of international accounting principles implies that they have to gain expertise in areas of domestic financial accounting principles and related laws. Gaining this expertise can substantially increase their operational costs.
International intergovernmental organisations
International intergovernmental organizations including the United Nation (UN), the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) extend credits for projects to other countries. They are therefore interested in obtaining comparable financial information in order to evaluate the projects they carry out in the various countries.as the organization. This can be achieved only if there is harmonization of international accounting princip