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International accounting disharmony: the case of intangibles

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Abstract:

IAS 1 ("Presentation of financial statements") requires that application of all international standards is necessary in order to comply officially with International Accounting Standards. This appears to be a key statement for the move towards accounting harmonization. The feasibility of this kind of harmonization could be jeopardized if even one standard is "rejected" by companies. In this context, in the wake of the publication of IAS 38 "Intangible assets", examines the ways that 21 national and two international accounting standards approach intangibles, both in terms of definition and treatment. Shows that there is no conceptual framework commonly accepted and that there is a considerable lack of consistency both inter-country and intra-country. This challenges the principle of the acceptability of all international accounting standards by companies that wish to or are required to apply IASs. The disharmony highlighted by the advent of IAS 38 could be a sign of the failure of international accounting harmonization.

Keywords: Accounting; Harmonization; Intangible Assets; International Standards

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/09513570110403470

Publication date: 2001-09-12

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