Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTING
I. International accounting is an extremely broad topic.
At a minimum it focuses on the accounting issues unique to multinational
corporations, especially with respect to foreign operations.
At the other extreme it encompasses the study of the various functional areas of
accounting in all countries of the world, as well as the activities of a number of
C. This book provides an overview of the broadly defined area of international
accounting, with a focus on the accounting issues encountered by multinational
companies engaged in international trade and invested in foreign operations. II. There are several accounting issues encountered by companies involved in international
One issue is the accounting for foreign currency-denominated export sales and
import purchases. An important issue is how to account for changes in the value of
the foreign currency-denominated account receivable (payable) that occur as
exchange rates fluctuate.
A related issue is the accounting for derivative financial instruments, such as forward
contracts and foreign currency options, used to hedge the foreign exchange risk
associated with foreign currency transactions. III. There is an even greater number of accounting issues encountered by companies that
have made a direct investment in a foreign operation. These issues primarily result from
the fact that GAAP, tax laws, and other regulations differ across countries.
A. Figuring out how to make sense of the financial statements of a foreign acquisition
target prepared in accordance with an unfamiliar GAAP when making a foreign direct
investment decision. B. Determining the correct amounts to include in consolidated financial statements for
the assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses of foreign operations.
consolidation of a foreign subsidiary involves a two-step process: (1) restate foreign
GAAP financial statements into parent company GAAP and (2) translate foreign
currency amounts into parent company currency. Determining the appropriate
translation method and deciding how to report the resulting translation adjustment
are important questions. C. Complying with host country income tax laws, as well as home country tax laws
related to income earned in a foreign country (foreign source income). Double
taxation of income is a potential problem, and foreign tax credits are the most
important relief from this problem. D. Establishing prices for intercompany transactions that cross national borders
(international transfer prices) to achieve corporate objectives and at the same time
comply with governmental regulations. E. Evaluating the performance of both a foreign operating unit and its management.
Decisions must be made with respect to issues such as the currency in which a
foreign operation should be evaluated and whether foreign management should be
held responsible for items over which they have little control. F. Establishing an effective internal audit function to help maintain control over foreign
operations. Differences in culture, customs, and language must be taken into
consideration. G. Deciding whether to cross-list securities on foreign stock exchanges, and complying
with local stock exchange regulations to do so. This could involve the preparation of
financial information in accordance with a GAAP different from that used by the
company. IV. As companies have become more multinational, so have their external auditors. The Big 4
public accounting firms are among the most multinational business organizations in the
world. V. Problems encountered by MNCs when confronted with different local GAAP in different
countries leads to the desire for accounting harmonization. There would be significant
advantages to MNCs if all countries used the same GAAP. VI. The world economy is becoming increasingly more integrated. International trade (imports
and exports) has grown substantially in recent years and has become a normal part of
business for relatively small companies. The number of U.S. exporting companies more
than doubled in the 1990s. VII. The tremendous growth in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the last two decades is
partially attributable to the liberalization of investment laws in many countries specifically
aimed at attracting FDI. The aggregate revenues generated by foreign operations are
twice as large as the revenues generated through exporting.
VIII. There are more than 82,000 multinational companies in the world in 2009 with 810,000
foreign subsidiaries. The 100 largest multinationals generate approximately 4% of global
GDP. A disproportionate number of multinational corporations are headquartered in the
triad countries of the United States, Japan, and the European Union.
IX. The largest companies in the world are not necessarily the most multinational. Indeed,
many large U.S. companies have no foreign operations. According to one definition of
multinationality used by the United Nations, the two most multinational companies in the
world in 2011 were based in Switzerland (Nestlé SA) and the United Kingdom (Anglo
American plc). X. In addition to establishing operations overseas, many companies also cross-list their
shares on stock exchanges outside of their home country.
There are a number of
reasons for doing this including having access to a larger pool of capital. Answers to Questions
1. In 2011, companies worldwide exported over $18.3 trillion worth of merchandise. Although
international trade has existed for thousands of years, recent growth in trade has been
phenomenal. Over the period 1996-2011, U.S. exports increased from $625 billion to
$1,480 billion per year, a 137% increase. During the same period, Chinese exports
increased eight-fold to $1,898 billion in 2011.
2. Companies engaged in international trade with imports and exports denominated in foreign
currencies are faced with the accounting issue of translating foreign currency amounts into
the company’s reporting currency and reporting the effects of changes in exchange rates in
the financial statements.
3. As listed in Exhibit 1-1, following are several reasons why companies might want to invest
overseas: Increase sales and profits Enter rapidly growing or emerging markets Reduce costs Gain an foothold in economic blocs Protect domestic markets Protect foreign markets Acquire technological and managerial know-how
4. FDI is playing a larger and more important role in the world economy. Global sales of
foreign affiliates were about 1.5 times as high as global exports in 2011, compared to almost
parity about three decades earlier. Global sales of foreign affiliates comprises about one
tenth of worldwide gross domestic product.
5. Financial reporting issues that result from foreign direct investment are (a) conversion of
foreign GAAP to parent company GAAP and (b) translation of foreign currency to parent
company reporting currency to prepare consolidated financial statements. In addition,
supplementary disclosures about foreign operations might be required.
6. Two major taxation issues related to a foreign direct investment are (a) taxation of the
investee’s income by the host country in which the investment is located and (b) taxation of
the investee’s income by the investor’s home country. Companies with foreign direct
investments need to develop an expertise in the host country’s income tax rules so as to
minimize the amount of taxes paid to the host country, as well as in the home country’s tax
rules with respect to foreign source income.
7. Companies must make several decisions in designing the system for evaluating the
performance of foreign operations. Two of these are (a) deciding whether to evaluate
performance on the basis of foreign currency or parent company reporting currency and (b)
deciding whether to factor out of the performance measure those items over which the
foreign operation’s managers have no control.
8. Two reasons to have stock listed on the stock exchange of a foreign country are (a) to
obtain capital in that country, perhaps at a more reasonable cost than is available at home,
and (b) to have an “acquisition currency” for acquiring firms in that country through stock
swaps. 9. The United Nations measures the multinationality of companies based on the average of
three factors: the ratio of foreign sales to total sales, the ratio of foreign assets to total
assets, and the ratio of foreign employees to total employees. Information about foreign
sales, foreign assets, and the number of foreign employees might be provided in a
company’s annual report or other publications through which a company provides
information to the public.
10. A single set of accounting standards used worldwide would have the following benefits for
multinational corporations: Reduce the cost of preparing consolidated financial statements Reduce the cost of gaining access to capital in foreign countries Facilitate the analysis and comparison of financial statements of competitors and
potential acquisitions Solutions to Exercises and Problems
1. Sony uses the following procedures to translate the foreign currency financial statements of
its foreign subsidiaries into Japanese yen: All assets and liabilities are translated at the year-end exchange rate All income and expense accounts are translated at the exchange rate prevailing on the
transaction date The resulting translation adjustment is included in accumulated other comprehensive
income (stockholders’ equity)
[Students familiar with U.S. GAAP will recognize this approach as being procedures required
by FASB Statement No. 52 for foreign subsidiaries with a foreign currency as their functional
Sony uses the following procedure to translate foreign currency payables and receivables
into Japanese yen: All foreign currency receivables and payables are translated into Japanese yen at the
year-end exchange rate Changes in the Japanese yen value of foreign currency receivables and payables are
reported as gains and losses in income
[Students familiar with U.S. GAAP will recognize this as being the approach required in
accounting for foreign currency payables and receivables.]
2. Sony has intercompany transactions that result in one affiliate paying foreign currency to (or
receiving foreign currency from) another affiliate. The company uses foreign exchange
forward contracts and foreign currency option contracts to fix the local currency value of the
foreign currency that will be paid to (or received from) the affiliate. Sony does this for
transactions that have already occurred (receivables and payables), as well as for
transactions that are expected to occur (forecasted). For example, assume that Sony
Mexico purchases goods from the parent company in Japan on February 1 with payment of
50 million Japanese yen to be made on March 31. Sony Mexico could enter into a twomonth forward contract on February 1 that fixes the number of Mexican pesos it will need to
pay to acquire 50 million Japanese yen on March 31. Alternatively, Sony Mexico could
purchase a foreign currency option on February 1 that expires on March 31 that would give
the company the option to purchase yen on that date at a predetermined price. In addition, Sony uses forward contracts to fix the amount of local currency it will need to
expend to be able to repay foreign currency loans (debt). For example, assume Sony has a
loan of 10 million Swiss francs that comes in six months, and the company is concerned that
the Swiss franc might appreciate against the Japanese yen during that period. The
company could buy 10 million Swiss francs six-months forward thereby fixing the Japanese
yen price that will be paid when the debt matures.
3. a. The BRL pre-tax income becomes a USD pre-tax loss because Sales and Expenses are
translated at different exchange rates. Specifically, Sales are translated at an exchange
rate of USD0.30/BRL and Expenses are translated at an exchange rate of
b. The question is whether Acme Brush should use BRL income or USD income to
evaluate Cooper Grant’s performance. There is no unequivocally correct answer to this
question. Issues that might be discussed include: What is the Brazilian subsidiary’s objective? To generate profits that can be
distributed to U.S. stockholders? Does Cooper Grant have the ability to “control” USD income? Do the translation procedures that result in a USD pre-tax loss make economic
4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) provides a PDF file titled “Current List of All NonU.S. Listed Issuers” on its website under Investor Relations > Financial. This document can
be accessed either by using a web browser to search for “NYSE List of Non-U.S. Listed
Issuers” or by searching for “List of Non-U.S. Listed Issuers” within the NYSE website
Note: The answers to a. and b. provided below were as of December 31, 2012. The
instructor should update these answers to the current date.
a. A total of 525 non-U.S. companies representing 46 different countries were listed on the
NYSE, NYSE MKT exchanges.
b. On December 31, 2012, the foreign countries with the most companies listed on the
NYSE were: Canada (157); China (82); Brazil (26); U.K. (29); and Bermuda (19).
c. Companies in Canada, China, Brazil, and Bermuda probably have listed on the NYSE to
tap into the much larger U.S. capital market. The reasons for U.K. companies to list on
the NYSE are less clear. One reason a foreign company might want to list its shares in
the United States is to enhance the company’s ability to acquire U.S. companies through
an exchange of shares of stock. U.S. stockholders are more likely to trade in their
shares of stock in a U.S. company in exchange for shares of a foreign company if that
foreign company’s shares are traded on a U.S. stock exchange.
5. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) provides an Excel file containing a list of all companies
listed on the exchange on its website ( ). In 2013, this could
be found by searching for “List of All Companies” in the LSE website.
Note: The answers below come from an Excel spreadsheet “All Companies on the
London Stock Exchange – At 31 December 2012.” The instructor should update these
answers to the current date.
a. The Excel spreadsheet lists 583 non-U.K. companies. These companies represent 65
b. Australia (31), Brazil (0), Canada (32), China (5), France (3), Germany (7), Mexico (0),
and the United States (43). Four reasons why there are more companies listed on the
LSE from Australia and Canada than from France and Germany might be: Language – the LSE might require information filed with it to be in English, a
requirement easier for Australian and Canadian companies to meet.
Number of publicly traded companies – even though there are more people in
France and Germany, there might be more publicly traded companies in Canada and
Australia. The percentage of publicly traded companies listed on the LSE might
actually be the same across the four countries. For example, 28 Australian
companies might be the same percentage of total publicly traded companies in
Australia as is 8 companies in Germany.
Size of local capital market – large firms in France and Germany might have no
problem obtaining sufficient capital locally; Australia and Canada might have
relatively small capital markets and large companies might need to obtain financing
in international markets. 6. Based on the geographical distribution of Revenues (Net Sales) and Non-current (Longterm) Assets, AstraZeneca has a multinationality index (MNI) of 0.86 and Abbott Labs has a
multinationality index of 0.58. Case 1-1: Besserbrau AG
Besserbrau AG is faced with international accounting issues related to four different types of
1. International Trade: Imports from Czech Republic; exports to China Translation of foreign currency payables and receivable resulting from import and export
transactions. Account for foreign currency forward contracts and foreign currency options used to
hedge foreign exchange risk related to foreign currency payables and receivables
2. Foreign direct investment in China Conversion of BB Pijio’s profit from Chinese GAAP to German GAAP. Translation of BB Pijio’s profit from Chinese currency (renminbi) to German currency
(euro). Chinese taxation of income earned in China. German taxation of income earned in China. Evaluation of BB Pijio’s performance
3. Pricing of intercompany sales made by Besserbrau (Germany) to BB Pijio (China) Compliance with German and Chinese transfer pricing regulations.
4. Cross-listing on London Stock Exchange Compliance with London Stock Exchange financial reporting requirements. Case 1-2: Vanguard International Growth Fund
1. Individual investors can diversify the risk associated with investing in companies in only one
country by investing in mutual funds that invest in the stock of foreign companies.
2. According to information provided in the fund’s prospectus, the International Growth Fund is
subject to: Investment style risk, which is the chance that returns from the types of stocks in which it
invests will trail returns from the overall stock market. Stock market risk, which is the chance that stock prices overall will decline over short or
even long periods. Country/regional risk, which is the chance that domestic events – such as political
upheaval, financial troubles, or natural disasters – will adversely affect the value of
securities issued by companies in foreign countries or regions. Currency risk, which is the chance that investments in a foreign country will decrease in
value if the U.S. dollar rises in value against that country’s currency. Manager risk, which is the chance that the advisers will do a poor job of selecting the
securities, sectors, or groups of companies in which the Fund invests.
Investment style, stock market, and manager risks are common to both domestic and
international funds. International funds also are subject to country/regional and currency
risks: 3. The Plain Talk About International Investing box discusses the fact that because foreign
companies are not subject to the same accounting, auditing, and financial reporting
standards and practices as U.S. companies, there exists a risk that the information made
available by foreign companies is not as reliable or as useful in making investment decisions
as information provided by U.S. companies.
4. The fund’s assets are distributed by region as follows: Europe (55%), Pacific (17%),
Emerging Markets (23%), North America (3.8%), and Middle East (1.3%). Other than North
America, this allocation might be affected by the number of firms listed on stock exchanges
in those regions; relative risks – country and currency – across regions; relative growth
potentials across regions; and/or differences in the quality and quantity of information
provided by companies for making investment decisions.
5. The fund is most heavily invested in the U.K. (20%), Japan (8.9%), China (8.1%).
Switzerland (7.8%), and France (7.6%). The reasons why these countries are so heavily
represented are similar to those listed in 4 above.
One might have expected more investment in emerging markets like Brazil and India. Also,
one might expect the percentage invested in the U.K., France, and Germany to be more
The fund has a very small amount of investment in Canadian operations, and apparently
nothing in Mexican companies. One might have expected more investment in companies
located in these countries.
6. The fund is most heavily invested in the following sectors: financials, consumer
discretionary, and industrials. These industries might be the most profitable or have the
highest growth potential. As a regulated industry, financials might be perceived as providing
more reliable information for making investment decisions than other sectors. CHAPTER 2
WORLDWIDE ACCOUNTING DIVERSITY
View Full Document
What students are saying
As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.
Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern
I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.
Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern
The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.
Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern