Do accounting standards matter? An exploratory analysis of earnings management before and after IFRS adoption


Journal of Accounting and Public Policy

November 2008, vol. 27, n°6, pp.480-494

Departments: Accounting & Management Control, GREGHEC (CNRS)

In this paper, we analyze the effect of the mandatory introduction of IFRS standards on earnings quality, and more precisely on earnings management. We concentrate on three IFRS first-time adopter countries, namely Australia, France, and the UK. We find that the pervasiveness of earnings management did not decline after the introduction of IFRS, and in fact increased in France. Our findings confirm that sharing rules is not a sufficient condition to create a common business language, and that management incentives and national institutional factors play an important role in framing financial reporting characteristics. We suggest that the IASB, the SEC and the European Commission should now devote their efforts to harmonizing incentives and institutional factors rather than harmonizing accounting standards.IFRS Earnings management Thresholds