International Accounting Standards: An Alternative Rationale

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Journal Article
Abacus, 1987, 23 (2), pp. 157 - 170
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International aspects of financial reporting have begun to receive an increasing amount of attention by a range of organizations. There is a need then, to appraise critically the performance and the underlying rationale of those agencies responsible for influencing international practices. Identification and appraisal of the rationale underlying the existence of those agencies is a necessary step in determining their potential for achieving the objectives which they have been set. This paper examines the rationale behind one of these agencies, the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC, 1977). Unlike many others, the paper does not attempt to explain why we should have an organization such as the IASC and the standards it produces. Rather, it represents an attempt to explain why we do have an organization such as the IASC. To that end, an alternative rationale is suggested for the output of the IASC, based on theories of professional selfinterest, agency, and property rights. It is argued that that rationale is likely to have significantly greater explanatory power in respect of the present output produced by the IASC than those traditionally presented. Copyright © 1987, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
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