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1.1 Background to the Study
Globalization of capital markets is an irreversible process hence the need for harmonization
of accounting standards in order to help standardize companies’ financial statements, especially
international investors whose interest span across the globe. Since financial information is the
medium of communicating financial transactions, it is important that different countries’
accounting standards be harmonized to form a single set of accounting standards, to improve the
rate at which investment and credit decisions are taken and aid international comparability of
companies’ performance both within and outside reporting countries. According to Essien-Akpan
(2011), as a result of increasing globalization and therefore competition, it becomes imperative that
countries and companies alike address issues that will make them become more attractive of
investors’ capital which is like the proverbial beautiful bride. Adekoya (2011) noted that there are
many potential benefits to be gained from the adoption of uniform, mutually recognized and
respected international accounting standards , the adoption cut the cost of doing business across the
borders by reducing the need for complementary information, make information more comparable,
thereby enhancing evaluation and analysis by users of financial statements. Ahmed (2011) also put
it differently that users become more confident of the information they are provided with and
presumably, this reduces uncertainties, promotes efficient allocation of resources and reduce capital
The evolution of this international convergence towards a global set of accounting standards
started in 1973 when 16 professional accounting bodies from major countries comprising UK,
Ireland, United States (US), Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands
agreed to form International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) responsible for the issuing
of International Accounting Standards (IAS) until April 2001 when the IASC was re-structured to
International Accounting Standard Board (IASB) to develop a uniform set of accounting principles
that would be applicable globally and supersede the International Accounting Standards (IAS)
which allowed for different treatments of transactions and events, making comparative analysis
difficult and to be known as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) (Ajibade, 2011).
In Nigeria, to join the moving train of globalization and to take its advantages outlined
above, adoption of IFRS was launched in September 2010, by the Honorable Minister, Federal
Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins-kuye (OFR) with the issuance of the
implementation roadmap for Nigerian adoption of IFRS. The roadmap set January 2012 as
compliance date for publicly quoted companies and significant public interest entities in Nigeria.
All other public interest entities are expected to mandatorily adopt IFRS by January 2013, and
small and medium-sized entities to adopt IFRS by January 2014.
Two years after the first adoption and implementation of IFRS in Nigeria, this study is meant to
evaluate the likely challenges of its post implementation.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite all the immense benefits of adopting and implementing IFRS such as reduced cost of
doing business across the borders via reduction in the need for complementary information,
comparability of information, enhancement in evaluation and analysis by users of financial
statements, reduction in uncertainties as well as capital cost, its implementation is however not
without challenges, especially in a developing country like Nigeria (Adekoya, 2011; Ahmed 2011)
Adoption of IFRS in Nigeria is faced with challenges which will entail significant costs and will
have far reaching challenges on a wide variety of stakeholders in the financial reporting process;
including financial statement preparers, investors, analysts, auditors, regulators and other partakers
of financial reporting process. These stakeholders are faced with a number of implementation
challenges on the financial reporting process which include among others conversion will require
companies to re-align their systems, train employees and educate users of the financial statements
on changes to financial reports. Auditors will be required to implement extensive training
programmes to ensure that future accounting professionals receive a sound education on the
application of international financial reporting standards (IFRS) (Onoja, et al., 2013)
Post implementation challenges of IFRS are the major concern in Nigeria today after two
years of its adoption and implementation. Therefore the following research questions are to be
addressed in this study.
i. Do IFRS implementation led to additional cost of operations for entities that have
implemented it so far?
ii. Do the increased costs of operation as a result of IFRS implementation outweigh the
benefits derivable from its implementation?
iii. To what extent do managing public perceptions around changes in financial statements
brought about by IFRS implementation a challenge? In other words, do changes in
financial statements have any negative effects on public perceptions about the financial
1.4 Objectives of the Study
Generally, this study is aimed at evaluating the post implementation challenges of IFRS from
the Nigerian Accountants’ perspective. Specific objectives sought in this study include:
i. to evaluate whether IFRS implementation led to additional cost of operations for entities
that have implemented it so far.
ii. to examine whether the increased costs of operation as a result of IFRS implementation
outweigh the benefits derivable from its implementation.
iii. to examine whether changes in financial statements have any negative effects on public
perceptions about the financial statements.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The hypotheses to be tested in this study stated in null form (Ho) are as follow
Ho1 IFRS implementations do not significantly lead to additional cost of operations for entities
that have implemented it.
Ho2 Increased costs of operation as a result of IFRS implementation significantly outweigh
the benefits derivable from its implementation.
Ho3 Changes in financial statements have no significant effects on public perceptions about
the financial statements.
1.3 Justification for the Study
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is one of the major contemporary issues
in accounting profession globally and particularly in Nigeria today. Several studies into the benefits
of its adoption in Nigeria, pre-adoption and implementation challenges, issues and lessons for all
the stakeholders as well as its implication for the Nigerian Capital Market has been carried out by
many scholars. While some researchers refer to the advantages of adopting IFRSs in the developing
countries such as increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) (Halbouni, 2005 and Tyrrall et al.,
2007); others are concerned about the debate of such adoption due to the diversity in the cultural
and environmental factors among countries which would be detrimental to the adoption advantages
(Briston, 1990 and Larson, 1993). Nigeria is one of the developing countries for which these
standards could be either advantageous or detrimental to economic growth.
Consequently, with the last IFRS implementation phase still ongoing (small and medium-
sized entities to adopt IFRS by January 2014), this study is therefore set to assess the likely post
implementation challenges faced by the entities that have implemented it so far from the
accountants perspective. This information can be of importance to other companies implementing
IFRS in Nigeria, the relevant stakeholders as well as standard-setters and regulators around the
Researchers and students in other developing nations which are yet to adopt the IFRS
policy/standards may also find this study relevant.
Finally, finding of this study will contribute to the pool of information needed in making
relevant economic policies both in Nigeria and any other country that might find it useful.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will examine the post implementation challenges of IFRS adoption in Nigeria
from the Accountants point of view. It will cover Accountants in Kwara State divided into three
sub-groups, viz. Auditors, Accountants (reporting) and those in the academics. This study will also
cover two years in terms of period (2012-2013), that is, the period that IFRS implementation is in
operation in Nigeria.
1.7 Definition of Terms
i. IFRS: Means International Financial Reporting Standards. It represent a unified global
commitment to developing a single set of high quality, globally accepted accounting
standards whose aim is to provide transparent and comparable information that is in the
public interest through general purpose financial statements (Herbert, 2010).
ii. Harmonization: The term harmonization means “the reconciliation of different
accounting and financial reporting systems by fitting them into common broad
classifications, so that form becomes standard while content retains significant
differences” (Mathews & Perera, 1996).
iii. Convergence: Convergence means the process of converging or bringing together
international standards issued by the IASB and existing standards issued by national
standard setters, with the aim of eliminating alternatives in accounting for economic
transactions and events (Odia and Ogiedu, 2013)
The expansion of International Trade and the accessibility to foreign stock and debt market
has given impetus to increasing the debate on whether or not there is need to be a global set of
accounting standards. As companies compete globally for scarce resources, investors and creditors
as well as multinational companies are required to bear the cost of reconciling financial statements
that are prepared using national standards. It was argued that a common set of practices will
provide a “level playing field” for all companies worldwide (Murphy, 2000).
2.1.0 Conceptual Framework
2.1.1 International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
IFRS are standards and interpretations adopted by the International Accounting Standards
Board (IASB). They include International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International
Accounting Standards (IAS) and interpretation originated by the International Reporting Standards
Interpretation Committee (IFRSIC) (Oyedele, 2011). IFRS represent a single set of high quality
globally accepted accounting standards that can enhance comparability of financial reporting across
the globe. This increased comparability of financial information could result in better investment
decisions and ensure a more optimal allocation of resources across the global economy (Jacob and
2.1.2 Adoption, Adaption (Harmonization), Convergence of IFRS: The Clarification
Despite the fact that IFRS are increasingly becoming the need of the hour across the world
and given aggressive attempts by companies in globalizing their operations, some confusion still
prevail over the difference between Adoption, Adaptation (or Adaption) of, and Convergence with,
IFRS. Although in common parlance and even in extant literature, the terms are used
interchangeably, conceptually there exists a significant difference between the two which all users
of IFRS – researchers, regulators, professionals, etc. - should understand and implement. It is
important in any IFRS discourse to clarify this distinction (Herbert, et al., 2013)
The term ‘adoption’ implies that national rules are set aside and replaced by IFRS
requirement. In simple terms, when a country or jurisdiction adopts IFRS, it means that the
country/jurisdiction shall be implementing IFRS in the same manner as issued by the IASB and
shall be 100% compliant with the guidelines issued by IASB. Adoption of IFRS means full scale
implementation or usage of IFRS without any variation. Within the European Union, for example,
IFRS adoption is obligatory for all listed companies for their consolidated statements (Nobes &
Parker 2008). The term ‘adoption’ is also used when a company chooses to use a set of accounting
rules other than the national one, that is, the one regulated by its national accounting standards, as
for example by Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in Nigeria.
Another term that raises confusion in the IFRS lexicon is ‘adaption’. Other literatures term it
as ‘harmonisation’. In simple terms, any transition to IFRS that entails the modification of IASB’s
standards to suit national/jurisdictional peculiarities or interests even without compromising the
accounting standards and disclosure requirements is referred to as adaptation (Herbert, et al., 2013).
The term harmonization means “the reconciliation of different accounting and financial reporting
systems by fitting them into common broad classifications, so that form becomes standard while
content retains significant differences” (Mathews & Perera, 1996).
Convergence on the other hand means the process of converging or bringing together
international standards issued by the IASB and existing standards issued by national standard
setters, with the aim of eliminating alternatives in accounting for economic transactions and events.
Convergence with IFRS means that the country’s Accounting Standard Board (e.g. FRC of Nigeria)
in applying IFRS would work together with IASB to develop high quality compatible accounting
standards over time. Convergence is then the gradual process of changing a country’s accounting
rules towards IFRS. The ultimate objective of convergence is to achieve a single set of internally
consistent, high quality global accounting standards, issued by the IASB and adopted by all the
national standard setters (Ogiedu, 2011). The need for global convergence of accounting standard
or for an international standard setter is to:
(i) Recognise the growing need for international accounting standards.
(ii) Ensure no individual standards setter has a monopoly on the best solutions to accounting
(iii) Ensure no national standard setter is in a position to set accounting standards that can gain
acceptance around the world.
(iv) Clarify that there are many areas of financial reporting in which a national standards setter
finds it difficult to act alone.
Convergence is the process by which standard setters across the globe discuss accounting
issues drawing on their combined experiences in order to get at the most appropriate solution.
Obazee (2007) suggests that convergence could be either by adoption (a complete replacement of
national accounting standards with IASB’s standards) or by adaptation (modification of IASB’s
standards to suit peculiarities of local market and economy without compromising the accounting
standards and disclosure requirements of the IASB’s standards and basis of conclusions).
Convergence was meant to bring standards like the US GAP and IFRS closer or harmonize them; to
produce identical standards. According to SEC (2010), there are two approaches to IFRS adoption
around the world: convergence and endorsement approaches. SEC (2010) classifies jurisdictions
which do not adopt IFRS as issued by the IASB as following the convergence approach. They keep
their local standards but make effort to converge with IFRS over time for instance, China.
Endorsement approach is where jurisdictions incorporate individual IFRSs into their local standards
like countries in the European Union (EU).
In summary, the implementation trajectory of IFRS involves three action words: adopt,
adapt, and converge. Put differently, with respect to IFRS, should a country adopt, adapt or
converge? In general, although IFRS adoption is the ultimate objective and offers similarities in
both challenges and benefits, however, national differences (socio-cultural and political) persist.
Thus, every country/jurisdiction will inevitably follow its own path towards achieving adoption.
Clearly, many countries face cultural, legal, and/or political obstacles to an immediate adoption of
IFRS. As a result of those impediments, countries may decide to follow the path and strategies that
will enable them to best achieve the objective. A country may implement strategies of (a)
immediate full adoption of IFRS, (b) continuous convergence with IFRSs, or (c) modify the
standards to suit their national peculiarities, without compromising the preparation and disclosure
requirements of IFRS (Herbert, et al., 2013).
2.1.3 Advantages and Benefits of IFRS
Proponents of IFRS claim that IFRS possess many advantages over the domestic accounting
standards of individual countries. Several studies report improvements in accounting quality
following voluntary IFRS adoption (Barth, Landsman and Lang, 2008) as well as mandatory IFRS
adoption (Daske, et al., 2008). For example, Barth, et al., (2008) provided evidence from 21
countries, showing that firms applying international accounting standards generally had less
earnings management, more timely loss recognition, and more value relevance of accounting
amounts than others. Prior researchers provided many reasons for a higher accounting quality in the
financial statements under IFRS:
They were originally designed for developed capital markets and therefore, more relevant to
investors (Ball, 2006)
• They reduce the alternative accounting methods, leading to lower earning management (Winney,
et al., 2011).
• They require higher quality measurement and recognition rules (De Franco, Kothari and Verdi,
2010) that better reflect a firms underlying economic position, hence more transparent than local
GAAP (Herbert, 2010).
• They require higher disclosure levels, thereby mitigating information asymmetries between firms
and their shareholders (Healy and Palepu, 2001).
Besides the higher financial reporting quality argument, advocates of IFRS also claim that
IFRS reporting increases comparability of firms across markets and countries (DeFond, et al.,
2010), thus, facilitating cross-border investment (Lee and Fargher, 2010) and integration of capital
market (Saudagaran, 2008). In light of the IFRS effects on the capital market, the promoters of
IFRS often argue that companies could access the international capital market more easily
(Christensen, et al., 2011), especially the ones with high level of internationalization such as trading
or raising fund in overseas markets (Daske, et al., 2009).
In addition, there are also the intangible advantages that adopting firms might be able to
benefit from, when they implement additional disclosure policy under IFRS (Florou and Pope,
2012). For example, the firm may more easily access capital market (Soderstrom and Sun, 2007),
charge higher price for products (Ray 2010), and attract more experienced staff (Naoum, et al.,
2011) thanks to the reputation of more transparency than their competitors (Fox, et al., 2013).
In the same line of argument, prior researchers reported that serious, IFRS adopters experienced
significant declines in their cost of capital and substantial improvements in their market liquidity
compared to label, adopters (Daske, et al., 2009).
2.1.4 Disadvantages and Costs of IFRS
There are several reasons why the expected benefits of IFRS may not be achieved. Reducing
accounting alternatives may result in a less true and faithful representation of the firms, underlying
economics (Barth, et al., 2008).
• As a result of the principle-based nature of IFRS (Hong 2008), professional judgment may create
the opportunities for earning management (Chand, et al., 2005; Jeanjean and Stolowy, 2008).
• Weak enforcement mechanisms of adopting nations can reduce financial reporting quality, even
when high quality accounting standards are implemented (Brown and Tarca, 2007; Chen and
In addition to the potential disadvantages, previous authors also expressed some concerns
regarding the costs of transitioning to IFRS. Smith (2009) expressed that transition costs may vary
from firm to firm and some may be common to all firms across many countries. For example,
according to the report “EU implementation of IFRS and the Fair Value
Directive” (ICAEW 2007), the ten common costs of conversion to IFRS includes:
i. IFRS project team,
ii. Software and systems changes,
iii. Additional external audit costs,
iv. External technical advice as well as Tax advice,
v. Training of staff,
vi. Training other staff (such as IT staff, internal audit and management),
vii. Communications with third parties,
viii. Additional external data costs,
ix. Costs arising from changes such as re-negotiating debt covenants, surveys of accounting firms
unveiled that most companies hire extra staff or use subcontractors for IFRS project team (Onoja, et
2.1.5 Challenges of IFRS Implementation
The move to a new reporting system (like IFRS) brings many challenges for different
stakeholders involving in the process such as regulators, preparers, auditors and users. In particular,
the challenge for regulators is to identify to what extent national GAAP will be similar or distant
from IFRS (Heidhues and Patel, 2008). This, in turn, requires the practitioners to develop or obtain
an in-depth analysis what changes in hardware, software, reporting processes are required; what
transitional workload adding to the normal day-to-day activities (AICPA, 2011). Managing public
perceptions around the changes in financial statements are another challenge for the management of
adopting firms (PWC, 2011).
Furthermore, Jermakowicz (2004) listed some key challenges in the process of adopting
IFRS to include:
i. The complicated nature of some standards of IFRS (e.g. impairment test in IAS 36)
ii. The lack of guidance of first time IFRS reporting (e.g. IFRS 1)
iii. The underdevelopment of capital market
iv. The weak enforcement of law and regulations
Tokar (2005) added that for the country that has a different official language other than
English, timely IFRS translation into the national language is another obstacle during the transition
period. The task of implementing IFRS is further complicated by the fact that IFRS are continually
evolving, and not yet finalised (Fox, et al., 2013). Several authors have also expressed their
concerns about how IFRS will be taught to students and how professionals will keep up to date
with new standards (Heidhues and Patel, 2008; Wong, 2004). Education for both professional and
non-professional resources also then becomes an important barrier for making IFRS convergence
with national accounting standards happening. Other challenges according to Egbere et al., (2013)
i. Increased volatility of earnings,
ii. High cost of implementing IFRS,
iii. Complex nature of IFRS,
iv. Lack of IFRS implementation guidance and
v. Tax driven nature of national standards.
2.2.1 Theoretical Frame Work
International convergence of accounting standards is not a new idea. The concept of
convergence first arose in the late 1950s in response to post World War II economic integration and
related increases in cross-border capital flows (Nobes, 2008). Initial efforts focused on
harmonization which entailed reducing differences among the accounting principles used in major
capital markets around the world. By the 1990s, the notion of harmonization was replaced by the
concept of convergence - the development of a single set of high-quality international accounting
standards that would be used in at least all major capital markets.
The need to develop a unified set of accounting standards arose from international
differences that curtailed investment opportunities (IFAC, 2008). Since accounting is affected by its
environment, the culture of that environment contains the most basic value that an individual may
hold; it also determines the value system of accountants. In using cultural differences to explain
international differences in behaviour of accountants and in the nature of accounting practices,
Gray (1988) suggests that a country with high uncertainty avoidance and individualism will be
more likely to exhibit conservative measure of income and a preference to limit disclosure of those
closely involved in a business. Gray’s postulation is hinged on the following proposition by
The divergence perspective recognizes country and cultural differences. The main
hypothesis is that national culture continues to be a dominating influence on
individuals’ attitudes and behaviors.
Other factors that precipitated the development of a unified set of accounting standards include
inflation, tax method, and legal system of a country. The unification of the different accounting
standards and the evolutionary changes that led to the development of IFRS has been a topical issue
in the accounting world. Since the early 1970s, various attempts have been made and are still being
made to eliminate or reduce many of the major differences in accounting standards through a
process known as harmonization (Herbert 2010).
2.3.1 Empirical Studies
Empirically, little study has been conducted into the post implementation challenges of IFRS
adoption in Nigeria. This could be mainly because of the time frame covered by this
implementation to date. It was however concluded from a study conducted to examine the benefits,
costs and challenges of IFRS implementation that Nigerian accounting professionals are optimistic
about potential benefits of IFRS and also anticipated significant costs and challenges during the
transition period (Onoja, et al., 2013). These challenges are not however expected to be associated
with transition alone; it is as well expected to go on even after implementation at least in the first
few years of post implementation. Moreover, the survey findings suggest a strong support in
switching from Nigeria SAS to IFRS gradually, though the level of support is different from the
lens of three different accountant sub- groups. (Onoja, et al., 2013).
This section will focus on the research design, population and sample, Sampling technique and
sample size, Sources of data and instrument of data collection as well as method of data analysis.
3.1 Research Design
The research design for this study will be more of exploratory being one of the few empirical study
in this area. It will adopt a survey approach with the use of questionnaires which will be designed
to elicit opinions about the perception or knowledge of IFRS post implementation challenges in
Nigeria from Nigeria accountants’ lens.
3.2 Population and Sample
The population for this study will comprise mainly Accountants in Kwara State. The choice of
restriction to Kwara State alone is due to reason of logistic and resources (both in terms of time and
money). Also only Accountants are chosen to enable an objective opinion from those who have the
technical, professional and practical knowledge of IFRS.
The target sample respondents will be Accounting lecturers from Nigerian Universities, principally
from University of Ilorin, Kwara State University as well as Kwara State Polytechnic, Accountants
and Auditors in Practice from selected consulting firms in Ilorin, Offices of the Accountant-
General, Auditor-General of Kwara State, the Federal Inland Revenue Services in Kwara State as
well as some banks like GTBank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria.
3.3 Sampling Technique and Sample Size
Two different sampling techniques- Stratified and simple random sampling will be used in this
study. Stratified sampling technique will be used in dividing the population into strata (groups);
Academics (Lecturers and Students), Accountants and Auditors. While Simple random sampling
will then be used to draw sample from each stratum in order to guide against bias (to ensure fair
representation of population elements).
3.4 Sources of Data and Instrument of Data Collection
Both primary and secondary sources of data will be used in this study. The instrument to be used in
gathering the primary data- the main source will be questionnaire. The questionnaire will be
designed to measure the perceptions of Nigerian Accountants on the post implementation
challenges of IFRS in Nigeria two years after its adoption.
3.5 Method of Data Analysis
The nature of this study makes it appropriate to employ the use of inferential statistical tools such
as Chi-Square goodness-of-fit test which is used to test whether a frequency distribution fits an
expected distribution or hypothesized distribution. In other words, it is a test used to test the
significant difference between the observed frequency and expected frequency distribution. It is
used to determine how well empirical (observed) distribution i.e. those obtained from sample data,
fit theoretical (hypothesized) distribution such as normal, poison and binomial distributions. A chi-
square is denoted by χ2 and given as:
χ2 = Σ (O - E) 2
Where: χ2 = Calculated Chi-square value
∑ =Summation of the distribution
O = Observed frequency of each category; and
E =Expected frequency of each category.
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