International Financial Reporting Standards and Conservatism in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Countries: Evidence from Jurisdiction Corruption Index
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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the convergence of IFRS in ASEAN countries resulted in an improvement in financial-reporting quality, and in particular with regards the degree of conditional conservatism of financial reporting. Then, the authors investigate whether the convergence to IFRS and the degree of conditional conservatism is influenced by corruption as a proxy for the strength of ASEAN jurisdiction legal and enforcement systems. Design/methodology/approach: The sample of this study is based on 22,085 firm-year observations from three ASEAN countries, namely, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore from 2008 to 2014. This study employs a panel least square regression to test the effect of IFRS on two measures of conservatism which are asymmetric timeliness and accrual-based loss recognition. The conservatism data are extracted from ORBIS, while data for corruptions are extracted from Corruption Perception Index (CPI) that was released by Transparency International. Findings: This study finds Convergence of IFRS enhance conditional conservatism. The findings are robust for two measures of conservatism which are asymmetric timeliness and accrual-based loss recognition. The result on unconditional conservatism finds that IFRS reduce unconditional conservatism, which supports that the code-law structures of the ASEAN countries as characterized by unconditional conservatism is reduced after IFRS convergence. A further test indicates that corruption reduces conditional conservatism in more corrupt countries. Research limitations/implications: This study focused on three ASEAN countries only, as they have consistent convergence dates to the IFRS. Therefore the result may not be generalized to other ASEAN countries. Practical implications: The study provides implications to the regulators that IFRS enhance financial-reporting quality and reduce the randomness of decisions that are based on financial information as has been introduced by unconditional conservatism. Therefore it is important for the regulators to incorporate IFRS compliance into laws and regulations. Currently, IFRS compliance is not incorporated into laws and regulations for ASEAN countries, except for Malaysia. In Malaysia, Section 7 of the Financial Reporting Act 1997 (FRA) empowers the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board (MASB) to issue approved accounting standards for application in Malaysia. Under section 26D of the FRA, financial statements that are prepared or lodged with the Central Bank, Securities Commission or Registrar of Companies must comply with the standards issued by the MASB. Originality/value: This paper extends the literature on the effect of IFRS on conservatism as it provides robust effect of IFRS on both conditional and unconditional conservatism. In addition, this study extends the literatures on the effect of corruptions in the relationship between IFRS and conditional conservatism.
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