ADOPTION OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REPORTING STANDARDS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (THE CASE OF GHANA)

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ABSTRACT

Most countries in the world have revolutionized their accounting practices especially during the last few decades of the 21st century. Such revolutions encompass the adoption and adaptation of local accounting practices and harmonizing it with that of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – formerly International Accounting Standards (IAS). The study seeks to analyze how developing countries and in particular Ghana adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards.

The transformational processes studied covered the early periods of Ghana‟s independence from the British, 1957 to present era using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Questionnaires used gathered existing data on companies adopting the IFRS standards and how institutional forces in Ghana the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG) have influenced the adoption process. DiMaggio and Powell‟s (1983) theory of Institutional isomorphism is reflected in the adaptation process to better help understand the benefits of adopting new accounting standards and in this case, Ghana. External environments that also affect the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards in developing countries are also examined in this study.



Keywords: International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), IAS


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background
1.2 Research Gap and Objective of the Study
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Scope and Limitations
1.5 Structure of the Study

2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Ghana at a Glance
2.1.1 Gross Domestic Product
2.2 Overview of Accounting System in Developing Countries (Ghana)
2.2.1 Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICAG)
2.2.2 Functions of Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana ICAG
2.2.3 Difficulties Faced by ICAG
2.3 The theory of Isomorphism
2.3.1 Coercive Isomorphism
2.3.2 Mimetic Isomorphism
2.3.3 Normative Isomorphism
2.4 International Accounting Standards
2.4.1 International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC)
2.4.1 How successful was the IASC?
2.4.2 International Accounting Standards Board
2.5 The adoption of IFRS in Ghana
2.5.1 Report on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC)
2.5.2 Gaps Observed in the Ghana Accounting System
2.5.3 Differences between Ghana National Accounting Standards and International Accounting Standards
2.5.4 World Bank Policy Recommendation on Ghana Accounting System
2.6 The Relevance of the IFRS to Ghana
2.6.1 The Accounting Needs Factor
2.6.2 The Private Sector
2.6.3 The Capital Market Effect
2.6.4 The Similar Environment Argument
2.7 Merits of Adopting IFRS
2.8 Demerits of IFRS in Developing Countries

3. RESEARCH  METHODOLOGY
3.1 Quantitative Research
3.2 Qualitative Research
3.3 Data collection
3.4 Research Design
3.4.1 Exploratory Research
3.4.2 Descriptive Research
3.4.3 Causal Research
3.5 Data analysis
3.6 Validity and Reliability of the study

4. EMPIRICAL STUDY AND FINDINGS
4.1 Qualitative (Exploratory) Research Analysis
4.1.1 Millicom International Cellular S. A
4.1.2 Millicom Ghana Limited
4.1.3 Facts and Figures
4.1.4 Competitors
4.2 Result of Exploratory Research
4.3 Quantitative Research Analysis
4.3 What factors affect the adoption of IFRS in Ghana?
4.3.1 Economic Growth
4.3.2 Legal System
4.3.3 External Environment (UN, World Bank, IMF)
4.3.4 Capital Market
4.3.5 Ineffective Previous Accounting Standards

5. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
REFERENCES
APPENDIX
ACCRONYMS


1.  INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background

Internationalization of economic trade and globalization of businesses is on the ascendency. Consequently, financial statements prepared according to a nation‟s local accounting system may hardly meet the needs of investors, business partners, financiers and decision-makers who are conversant with international standards. Meanwhile, developing and emerging markets are the target of the world‟s leading industries that are operating in the saturated western countries. To better undertake their activities in developing countries; they must adopt international accounting standards that suit needs (Zeghal and Mhedhbi, 2006). Additionally, hence foreign investment is major boost to the economies of developing countries an investor may demand vivid and comprehensible financial information - underscoring the reason why developing countries must adopt International Accounting Standards (Zeghal and Mhedhbi, 2006).


To bridge the gap between accounting standards among countries, the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) was founded in 1973 by a group of professional accounting practitioners with an attempt to formulate a uniform and global accounting standards that would aim at reducing the discrepancies in international accounting principles and reporting practices. In this light, the International Accounting Standard (IAS) was proposed which has actively been championing the uniformity and standardization of accounting principles over two decades now (Carlson, P, 1997). Meanwhile, in April 2001, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) took over the setting of International Accounting Standards from the International Accounting Standard (IASC). Henceforth, the IASB updated the already existing International Accounting Standard (IAS) and referred to them as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). This study focuses on how Ghana as a typical case of a developing economy adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards.

In January, 2007, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning - Ghana formally launched the adoption of IFRS. By December 2007, listed companies, government business enterprises, banks, insurance companies, securities brokers, pension and investment banks and public utilities are expected to prepare their financial statements in accordance with the IFRS. In an address to the participants at the launching, the minister referred to a report on Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) on Ghana that the world bank issued in March 2006, and noted that "the adoption of IFRS would address certain weaknesses the ROSC of Ghana has identified” (UN, 2007).

1.2 Research Gap and Objective of the Study

In recent years, the development of international accounting standards and adoption by such industrialized countries as: Britain, Germany, United States of America, Canada and the Members of the European Union have been a major of concern among accounting professionals. In spite of the numerous studies about the Adoption of International Accounting Standards by developed and industrialized countries around the world, less attention has been given to developing countries. Virtually, no articles and books about the adoption of accounting standards by developing countries and in particular Ghana exist (Zeghal and Mhedhbi, 2006). Moreover, the few that are in existence primarily focuses on whether it is necessary for developing countries to adopt international accounting standards (Tyrrall et al 2007).

Secondly, these articles and books discuss the impact of international accounting standards on the economic development of the various developing countries. Meanwhile, most previous studies on adoption of international accounting by developing countries are country specific. For instance an analysis of the International Accounting Standards implementation process in developing countries which took Armenia as the analytical framework” (McGee 1999).


In this light therefore, this study will examine how the accounting profession has evolved in developing countries over the years - specifically Ghana Additionally, the processes and factors affecting the adoption of International Financial Reporting...

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