The Effects of International Financial ReportingStandards Adoption on Earnings Management: Evidence from Commercial Banks in Liberia

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Företagsekonomi; Högskolan Dalarna/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Purpose - the purpose of this thesis is to investigate earnings management in an emerging economy without market force. We use discretionary loan loss provisions (DLLP) to proxy earnings management, which constitute a material portion of the total accruals in the banking industry. We examine this abnormal behavior in the financial statements prepared under US GAAP and IFRS. Specifically, we try to find the differences in managerial opportunistic behavior that might exist in the two accounting regimes. We also examine the micro economy and regulatory factors that might influence the earnings behavior in the banks. Design/method/approach - This empirical investigation uses an unbalanced panel data of five commercial banks in Liberia for a period of six years, 2010 to 2012 before and 2013 to 2016 after IFRS adoption. The data generated from the audited financial statements of the commercial banks were analyzed with two sample t test and multiple linear regression. We also run robustness check with same statistical procedures to validate the results. Findings - the empirical results show a statistically insignificant difference in earnings management after the adoption of IFRS, which means the introduction of IFRS did not have significant effect on earnings management practices in the banks. Additionally, we found no significant relationship between Liberia GDP growth and DLLP. Finally, we discovered a positive insignificant relationship between the capital adequacy ratio and DLLP as predicted. Originality/value - the result of this thesis advances the understanding of earnings management under US GAAP and IFRS in an emerging economy. As most of the existing literature conducted on earnings management are mainly focused on developed economy with capital market and data from non-financial institutions. This thesis fills a gap in the existing literature by studying managerial discretion in an unusual environment. The results of our findings inform regulators, investors, auditors and standards setters considering IFRS adoption.

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