Enforcement of IFRS in Europe -A study identifying practical differences between countries
Problem: Transforming accounting standards into effective and sensible reporting practices has shown to increase the pressure on enforcement, as it has the power to promote consistent application across countries. Prior literature has acknowledged the increased importance of enforcement, as a result, the field of study has received greater attention in recent years. Findings of recent research point towards considerable differences in how IFRS is implemented, ascribing a lot of explanatory value to differences in enforcement. Even though these studies provide evidence that enforcement systems are different, the majority of research is limited in the sense that it does not focus on actual practices. Thus, it is interesting to investigate how well coordinated the member states are and how national enforcers differ in actual practices. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify differences in how enforcement of IFRS is carried out on national level within Europe. Research Question: How does enforcement of IFRS differ on national level within Europe? Research Design: The study is based upon a qualitative descriptive study, with a primary research approach based on semi-structured interviews, with representatives from nine enforcement bodies. Empirical findings were then analysed through a comparison with prior literature. Findings: Throughout the research process we have identified that national enforcement bodies differ in several areas, why we use the term significant differences for areas we want to highlight in the analysis. These have been categorized into seven areas: structures, resources legal authority, examination approach, results of examination, sanctions and the European corporation of enforcement overseen by ESMA, where amongst structures and legal authority has shown to be the root to the majority of other differences. Future Research: A primary suggestion would be to expand the sample and include more influential countries. To conduct a quantitative study examining the availability of information among enforcers would also contribute to the research area. Lastly, a study with similar purpose conducted after the implementation of the consultation paper from ESMA would be of interest.