IAS Paragraph 134 : Why do companies fail to fulfill the disclosure requirements?

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Redovisning och finansiering; Högskolan i Jönköping/IHH, Redovisning och finansiering

Abstract:

The implementation of IFRS/IAS accounting standards in Sweden had the intension to harmonize the accounting practices within the EU and increase transparency into the firms. However since the implementation there have been reports and studies showing the lack of compliance with the disclosure requirements regarding impairment tests of Goodwill. According to IFRS 3 Goodwill should no longer be amortized but should undergo an impairment test at least once a year to evaluate its true value. The impairment test is made by the firms themselves on very subjective assumptions. These assumptions should be disclosed according to IAS 36 paragraph 134 in the annual report to enable transparency. So far the full compliance with this rule has been questionable. This study aims to elucidate possible reasons for why firms leave out the required information in IAS 36 paragraph 134 and how authorized public accountants reason around the reasons given. To fulfill the aim of the study an inductive research method was used. The data was gathered through the use of qualitative interviews with authorized public accountants some of them with special expertise in the field. The empirical findings from the interviews contained a number of reasons for why companies do not disclose the information in IAS 36 paragraph 134. Among the most common were the risk of exposure, decreased flexibility, ignorance and non adequate internal reporting procedures. The study’s analysis use institutional theories to point out additional explanations for how disclosure requirements are handled. One finding is the tendency for firms to mimic each other, a behavior called isomorphism. The conclusion of the study is a discovery of an underlying unwillingness to write-down goodwill and thereby an unwillingness to give full disclosure in connection to the impairment test. Firms feel that the information is related to their competitive edge and thus exposes them too much. The authors also raise reasonable doubt to whether the IFRS/IAS standards have fulfilled their intension with increased transparency in the case of goodwill accounting.

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