Achieving High Quality, Comparable Financial Reporting: A Review of Independent Enforcement Bodies in Australia and the United Kingdom

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Abstract:

This article provides a review of the activities of two quite different types of national enforcement body, the U.K.'s Financial Reporting Review Panel (FRRP) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). We present material (some not available elsewhere) about their activities over the period 1998–2004 and show that both types of body can fulfil an enforcement role, albeit subject to political forces. We also assess the relevance of the bodies’ past activities for comparable international enforcement following the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in 2005. A review of cases reveals that for both bodies approximately half were related to recognition and measurement issues, where interpretation can be crucial. Although there is potential for cross-country differences to arise, they may be mitigated by the participation of both bodies in international enforcement coordination activities. Past activities suggest that the scope of the bodies’ activities and the extent of comparability of enforcement decisions are likely to reflect political views held within the government, corporate sector and accounting profession.

Keywords: ASIC; Accounting standards; Australian Securities and Investments Commission; Enforcement; FRRP; Financial Reporting Review Panel; Financial reporting; Regulation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6281.2007.00241.x

Affiliations: 1: University of New South Wales and an Emeritus Professor at the University of Western Australia 2: University of Western Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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