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Fair value accounting implementation challenges in South Africa

Fair value accounting implementation challenges in South Africa The objective of this research is to explore the challenges being encountered when applying and implementing fair value accounting requirements, focusing specifically on the determination of fair value per International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 13: Fair value measurement (IFRS 13) in the South African capital market.Design/methodology/approachData are collected from 20 detailed interviews, primarily with preparers and interpretively analysed to identify how individuals internalise the requirements of IFRS 13 and the challenges associated with its application. The researchers focus specifically on South Africa because of its status as a developing economy and, at the same time, its extensive experience in applying IFRS.FindingsSouth African preparers appear reluctant to change from a conventional cost-based measurement approach to one grounded in fair value. Primary concerns include the perceived usefulness of fair value accounting and its conceptual appropriateness, given its perceived de-emphasis of the traditional stewardship role of financial reporting. Related challenges to the application of IFRS 13 include concerns about the cost of determining fair value; the inherent subjectivity of fair value measures and the practical difficulty of calculating fair values when markets are not efficient or where business environments are complex and dynamic where Level 1 inputs are not widely available for all assets and liabilities. These challenges encourage preparers to choose accounting policies, which minimise the use of fair value or apply the provisions of IFRS 13 legalistically.Research limitations/implicationsData are collected from a group of respondents from a single developing economy. Additional research on the application of IFRS 13 in other developing markets will be required to conclude on the relevance of economic, cultural and social factors for the understanding and implementation of new accounting standards by practitioners.Practical implicationsStandard setters and regulators cannot assume that new accounting standards will be interpreted and applied as intended. Even when compliance with IFRS is mandatory, preparers have considerable discretion when it comes to operationalising accounting prescriptions. Unless the challenges raised by preparers are addressed, misapplication of IFRS is likely to continue.Originality/valueThe research makes an important empirical and practical contribution by providing primary evidence on the operationalisation of IFRS 13 in a novel setting. It complements earlier research which has focused primarily on the conceptual/theoretical dimension and on American and European perspectives. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies Emerald Publishing

Fair value accounting implementation challenges in South Africa

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2042-1168
DOI
10.1108/jaee-01-2020-0013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The objective of this research is to explore the challenges being encountered when applying and implementing fair value accounting requirements, focusing specifically on the determination of fair value per International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 13: Fair value measurement (IFRS 13) in the South African capital market.Design/methodology/approachData are collected from 20 detailed interviews, primarily with preparers and interpretively analysed to identify how individuals internalise the requirements of IFRS 13 and the challenges associated with its application. The researchers focus specifically on South Africa because of its status as a developing economy and, at the same time, its extensive experience in applying IFRS.FindingsSouth African preparers appear reluctant to change from a conventional cost-based measurement approach to one grounded in fair value. Primary concerns include the perceived usefulness of fair value accounting and its conceptual appropriateness, given its perceived de-emphasis of the traditional stewardship role of financial reporting. Related challenges to the application of IFRS 13 include concerns about the cost of determining fair value; the inherent subjectivity of fair value measures and the practical difficulty of calculating fair values when markets are not efficient or where business environments are complex and dynamic where Level 1 inputs are not widely available for all assets and liabilities. These challenges encourage preparers to choose accounting policies, which minimise the use of fair value or apply the provisions of IFRS 13 legalistically.Research limitations/implicationsData are collected from a group of respondents from a single developing economy. Additional research on the application of IFRS 13 in other developing markets will be required to conclude on the relevance of economic, cultural and social factors for the understanding and implementation of new accounting standards by practitioners.Practical implicationsStandard setters and regulators cannot assume that new accounting standards will be interpreted and applied as intended. Even when compliance with IFRS is mandatory, preparers have considerable discretion when it comes to operationalising accounting prescriptions. Unless the challenges raised by preparers are addressed, misapplication of IFRS is likely to continue.Originality/valueThe research makes an important empirical and practical contribution by providing primary evidence on the operationalisation of IFRS 13 in a novel setting. It complements earlier research which has focused primarily on the conceptual/theoretical dimension and on American and European perspectives.

Journal

Journal of Accounting in Emerging EconomiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 19, 2021

Keywords: Financial reporting; IFRS 13; Fair value; Challenges; Implementation; South Africa; IFRS

References