International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) convergence in developing countries

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The Bellot Mullenbach & Associés and its subsidiary BMA Consulting & Training, conducted a statistical study on the application of IFRS in developing countries . The study highlights :

The large number of developing countries that have or will apply IFRS principles and the accelerated between 2008 and 2011

The transitional arrangements chosen by many of these countries, which differ in many European countries such as France, which had chosen to prohibit IFRS in the financial statements.

In contrast, emerging countries benefit from redesigning their accounting regulations to go further than some developed countries, and adopt a national accounts consistent with IFRS.

For example, Algeria has adopted an accounting system greatly influenced by IFRS. The principles and key concepts are identical to IFRS, and have changed only the most complex and unsuitable aspects for the local economy.

On the panel of 27 emerging countries (according to the criteria used by the IMF to identify those countries) , BMA Consulting & Training has identified 17 countries , representing 63 % of the sample at the end of 2007, prohibited the IFRS.

They will be more than three ( 11%) in 2012 ( subject to decisions not yet formalized ) with 14 (52%) of them have or will begin a process of convergence.

On the panel of 128 countries (IMF criteria), the census is more difficult ( lack of information, decisions being … but not formalized) . BMA has however identified 69 countries (54%) already use IFRS. Of these 69 countries, about half chose to allow or to require IFRS for all companies regardless of their size.

Difficulty in applying the principles

IFRS are not rules but principles . Thus, if the control principle is acquired, the application can be more difficult and require training.

Indeed, the complexity of standards and sometimes artificial nature of the results published regularly annoy the users. The financial information is in fact not always understood outside the inner circle.

The best example is its ultra conceptual aspect, including the principle of the rule of substance over form.

These concepts, although often relevant in economic and financial matters, are not always explicit about the treatment of a particular contract or specific transaction.

The result is always difficulty to implementation. These include, among the main themes concerned, IAS issues 39 ( Financial Instruments ) risk transfer during the derecognition under a factoring contract, discount documentary credits or even processing discounts.

In case of difficulty in applying standards, the IASB can be accessed via a dedicated member to the interpretation of texts, the IFRIC .

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