and IFRS implementation and the factors that affect them. After a first stage of reform based on the French accounting system (of mimetic nature), the Romanian regulator considered IAS/IFRS implementation in two different 93 IAS/IFRS implementation in Romania steps. The first step was a result of coercive external forces, that is, the influence of the World Bank. Given the lack of other factors to favor the change process (users’ needs, professional skills, enforcement bodies), we argue that the actual implementation of IAS in that period was very limited. Ionas ¸ cu et al. (2007) acknowledge that only a few companies (of over 1,700 concerned by the regulations) were interested in IAS. The political implementation of IAS was therefore resisted. Mir and Rahaman (2005, p. 830) show that a cultural revolution is required to obtain a radical change, a cultural revolution which is far from being achieved in Romania until now. The existing institutions were maintained because individuals “do not find in their interest to undertake collective actions against existing institutions” (Lichtenstein, 1996). The second step of IFRS implementation concerned (as an obligation) only listed companies (in consolidated accounts) and financial institutions. We posit that this reduction in scope was accompanied by a change process more significant than in the previous period. We argue that other factors supported a more effective IFRS implementation: users begin to require better accounting information, auditors are more demanding, and preparers become better qualified. These evolutions are explained by the economic development in the last five years, also linked to
the European Union accession and the reforms in different domains in order to support it. All of these resulted in an increase of foreign investment and of the Bucharest Stock Exchange. However, one cannot say that IFRS are fully understood and implemented by the Romanian companies even today, since merely imposing some standards is not enough to have them applied. This is explained by the institutional framework, as “new institutional formations will thus gradually emerge while old ones will disappear. The survival over time of a culture’s constituent institutional elements will ultimately depend on whether these elements meet the demands of a changing social environment” (Lichtenstein, 1996, p. 246). Our results are consistent with previous literature concerning the difficulties of implementing IFRS in emerging economies (Mir and Rahaman, 2005; Jermakowicz and Gornik-Tomaszewski, 2006; Ding et al., 2007). We consider that Romania cannot be regarded as a country displaying a successful IFRS implementation, but as one with low conformity and manifesting resistance to change. The obstacles we find are the importance of taxation, the lack of educational training and that of resources, as well as the reduced power of internal coercive factors (such as users other than the State, and auditors other than Big 4). As the Romanian case proves, preparers, auditors,
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