TO EXPENSE OR NOT TO EXPENSE - HOW DOES IT MATTER? : A Qualitative Study Concering R&D and Credit Granting

University essay from Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet; Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet



This study concerns the implications of the discretion in the cut-off point in the accounting method for research and development. Our research problem targets the issues to reduce the existing research gap:

  • - "Does the choice of accounting method for research and development matter when a creditor evaluates a company for a credit granting decision?"
  • - "How does the accounting method for research and development matter in a credit granting decision?"

Our study aims to answer these questions by investigating and analyzing the credit granting assessment and by interviewing creditors at the major banks in Sweden. Fictitious case scenarios provide in-depth information about how the accounting methods matter for a credit granting decision.

We develop this study by gathering existing material regarding accounting standards, the accounting method and the credit granting assessment. Previous studies about credit granting and the accounting methods supplement the theoretical material.

The approach to this study is a hermeneutic approach that tries to grasp the entire picture of the respondents' opinion about the accounting methods. To gain detailed and extensive information from the respondents, we use a qualitative research with semi-structured interviews. The research sample consists of experienced creditors at the largest banks in Sweden. This is to ensure relevant and informative answers on our questions. We utilise the four case scenarios to encourage the respondents to elaborate upon the accounting methods for R&D. This provides detailed knowledge about how the accounting methods matter for a credit granting decision.

The respondent states that abnormal values in the R&D account are suspicious and that investigation and adjustments of these values occurs if necessary. From this summarised statement, we draw the conclusion that the accounting methods for R&D matter in a credit granting decision. However, we also establish that other factors are more influential on the decision. Furthermore, we find that the creditors examine the content of the R&D account because the methods and its content have different impact on the financial statements. The expense method indicates a negative impact on the credit granting decision if the company cannot carry the costs, while the recognition method gives an appearance of stronger financial statements. However, the recognition method also gives rise to suspicions if the company relies on previous achievements. We conclude that depending on the amount of R&D both methods can be perceived as an advantage and a disadvantage for a credit granting decision, however, our main finding suggests that a revaluation of the abnormal values in the R&D account occurs.

From the support of our findings, we believe that our research has accomplished the objective of the study and we therefore believe that we have contributed to the existing knowledge in the subject.


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