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ChoiSM_ch08 - Chapter 8 Global Accounting and Auditing...

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Chapter 8 Global Accounting and Auditing Standards Discussion Questions 1.Argument for measurement: Discrepancies in international measurement may produce accounting amounts that are vastly different (even where financial transactions and position are identical), leading to incorrect comparisons. Here it doesn’t matter what is disclosed; no reliable comparisons are possible anyway. Arguments for disclosure: If companies do not disclose complete information, they can hide losses or future problems from financial statement users. For example, losses can be hidden by offsetting them against gains. Expected future problems related to loss contingencies can be hidden simply by not disclosing them. Thus, if disclosure is incomplete, even the application of similar measurement principles will lead to incorrect comparisons. Clearly, international accounting convergence requires that both measurement and disclosure be made comparable. 2. The term convergence is associated with the International Accounting Standards Board. Before the IASB, harmonization was the commonly used term. Harmonization means that standards are compatible; they do not contain conflicts. Harmonization was generally taken to mean the elimination of differences in existing accounting standards, in other words, finding a common ground among existing standards. Convergence means the gradual elimination of differences in national and international accounting standards. Thus, the terms harmonization and convergence are closely aligned. However, convergence might also involve coming up with a new accounting treatment not in any current standards. 3.a. Reciprocity, or mutual recognition, exists when regulators outside of the home country accept a foreign firm’s financial statements based on the home country’s principles, or perhaps IFRS. For example, the London Stock Exchange accepts U.S. GAAP-based financial statements in filings made by non-U.K. foreign companies. Reciprocity does not increase cross-country comparability of financial statements, and it can create an unlevel playing field in that foreign companies may be allowed to apply standards that are less rigorous than those used by domestic companies. b. With reconciliation, foreign firms can prepare financial statements using the accounting standards of their home country or IFRS, but also must provide a reconciliation between accounting measures (such as net income and shareholders’ equity) of the home country and the country where the financial statements are being filed. Reconciliations are less costly than preparing a full set of financial statements under a different set of accounting principles, but provide only a summary, not the full picture of the enterprise. c. International standards are a result of either international or political agreement, or voluntary (or professionally encouraged) compliance. When accounting standards are applied through political, legal, or regulatory procedures, statutory rules typically govern the process. All other international 1
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standards efforts in accounting are voluntary in nature.
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