Walker and Robinson stress the importance of research into accounting agenda

Walker and robinson stress the importance of research

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Walker and Robinson stress the importance of research into accounting agenda setting as it “may reveal the existence of more significant lobbying than that evident in written
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13 submissions”. Fogarty et al. (1992, p. 36) recognise both the importance and the complexity of accounting agenda setting processes: [A]genda decisions form an important domain to consider in understanding standard setting. Far from a neutral effort to identify that which needs to be repaired, agenda processes reflect the same political dilemmas that pervade the balance of standard-setting. However, due to the strategic interests of the [standard-setter] and its ability to pursue its survival objectives, agenda setting cannot be thought of as a process wholly dominated by constituent wishes. Such a view is consistent with an unsophisticated notion that politics are evil. Project selection constitutes highly politicized action and merits study in that light. Despite the importance of agenda setting, there is a lack of research in the area (Howieson 2009a, b; Kothari, Ramanna and Skinner 2010; Walker and Robinson 1993). One possible explanation is the difficulty in observing and accessing data from these processes (Howieson 2009a). The importance of agenda setting has been recognised by standard setters themselves. Howieson (2009a) provides an overview of current agenda setting developments and insights from the perspective of three standard setting bodies. They are the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Australian Accounting Standards Board ( AASB). Howieson’s study cites Beresford (1993), an ex-Chairman of the FASB, who highlighted the importance of the agenda setting phase: “I continue to believe that agenda setting is the single most important decision that we make at the FASB. Yet, for all the care that goes into this process, it may be one of our least understood and least appreciated activities.” The FASB has developed a formal set of criteria to formalise its agenda setting process (FASB 2003). However, Howieson points out that there are issues with their application and interpretation, such as the application and interpretation of the formalised criteria by individual board members and collective decisions, including weighting of and trade-offs between criteria (Howieson 2009a, p. 954). In 2011, the
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14 IASB began a project to formalise its agenda setting processes and published a consultation paper (IASB 2011), seeking broad feedback. Comments on this paper were discussed at a number of roundtables in March 2012. A feedback document was published in the third quarter of 2012. As a result of this consultation, the IASB has now adopted a revised agenda setting process that includes initial research and a discussion paper before an agenda decision is made. The fact that these two accounting standard setting bodies have considered agenda setting is an indication of the importance of this issue.
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  • Fall '13
  • Government, The Land, International Financial Reporting Standards, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Australian Accounting Standards Board, Snow

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