1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
As globalization increases at a blistering pace, more and more business entities continue to get involved in cross-border capital investments (Napier, 2009). A considerable cost can be applied to these types of transaction for the translation of financial statements prepared under dissimilar accounting guidelines into a comparable form. There exist a multiple number of accounting systems that create these dissimilarities, because accounting is a language of business that has been created by society to provide information as to the economic health of an entity. Similar to any other language, varying types of “accounting language” are used across different regions of the globe to convey this information.
The increased frequency of the resulting costs has created a demand for an internationally comparable set of accounting standards. The creation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has tried to fulfill this demand. The desire to have comparable standards has thus resulted in the adoption and implementation of, as well as the convergence to IFRS (Gray, 2011).
Despite the push towards convergence of these accounting standards, significant diversity still remains (IAS, 2011). The resulting discussions on how to achieve worldwide accounting convergence oftentimes only involve the differences between specific accounting standards and how to eliminate them. However, in order to know how to eliminate differences one must first fully understand why they occur. One major reason for these differences is culture. Unfortunately, the role of culture is frequently absent from this discussion, regardless of the fact that it is at the heart of many differences that exist between one accounting system and the next.
However, culture can be thought of as the collective values of a society that influence its behavior. It is no secret that significant differences in these values exist internationally, and that these differences have a profound effect on all elements of society.
Therefore, accounting, as a societal creation, is influenced by these values as well. Given the goal of internationally adoption and comparability, it is important to explore the effect that culture can have on the implementation of IFRS. This study will present an overview through an examination of IFRS, aspects of its implementation, and the difficulties it faces because of culture to assess the level of implementation and adoption.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study is aimed at investigating the impact of cultural factors on the implementation of global accounting standards in Nigeria. The IASB has a goal to develop a single set of principle-based global accounting standards, which is the IFRS. Nigeria has embraced the principle-based regime and its accounting standards have converged substantially with the IFRS. However, research shows that accounting is influenced by the social, cultural and political environment. It is therefore questionable whether the IFRS-based standards can be implemented effectively in a different social and cultural environment. The application of professional judgment is essential in order to operate within a principle-based regime. Therefore, the question is how effectively professional judgment can be exercised in Nigeria. Accounting professionals from different backgrounds may reach different judgments, because professional judgment is often influenced by cultural values.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the impact of cultural factors on the implementation of global accounting standards IFRS in Nigeria.
2. To examine the level of the implementation of global accounting standards IFRS in Nigeria.
3. To identify the factors limiting the implementation of global accounting standards IFRS in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the impact of cultural factors on the implementation of global accounting standards IFRS in Nigeria?
2. What is the level of the implementation of global accounting standards IFRS in Nigeria?
3. What are the factors limiting the implementation of global accounting standards IFRS in Nigeria?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.