Relevance of Academic Research and Researchers' Role in the IASB's Financial Reporting Standard Setting

38 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2009

See all articles by Rolf Uwe Fuelbier

Rolf Uwe Fuelbier

University of Bayreuth

Joerg-Markus Hitz

University of Goettingen

Thorsten Sellhorn

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Munich; LMU Munich


The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) faces a vast number of standard-setting issues at all levels of financial reporting. The purpose of this article is to explore the relevance of academic research for financial reporting standard setting and the role of academic researchers in the standard-setting process. We contribute to the current debate surrounding International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by drawing inferences from prior findings regarding the role of research in the IASB's standard-setting efforts. After defining three broad categories of standard-setting questions, we explore how the international heterogeneity of its constituency imposes constraints on the IASB's work. Then, whether and how academic research can inform policy makers is investigated from an epistemological perspective. Based on a review of extant literature, the general criteria which a piece of research should fulfil in order to be perceived as relevant and useful by standard setters are discussed. This discussion is followed by more detailed considerations regarding the suitability of different research approaches for each of the three categories of standard-setting questions. We also touch on the subject of inferential problems inherent in most academic accounting research. Since the main objective is to contribute insights relevant to the IASB's efforts, we analyse academics' career systems and their incentives to engage in research intermediation, before discussing possible ways in which interested researchers can channel their insights into the IASB's standard-setting process. Overall, the international dimension of IASB standard setting and its implications for relevant research are emphasized.

Suggested Citation

Fuelbier, Rolf Uwe and Hitz, Joerg-Markus and Sellhorn, Thorsten, Relevance of Academic Research and Researchers' Role in the IASB's Financial Reporting Standard Setting. Abacus, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp. 455-492, December 2009, Available at SSRN: or

Rolf Uwe Fuelbier (Contact Author)

University of Bayreuth ( email )

Universitätsstraße 30
Bayreuth, 95447
+49(0)921 554820 (Phone)
+49(0)921 554822 (Fax)


Joerg-Markus Hitz

University of Goettingen ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
D-37073 Goettingen
+49 551 39 7313 (Phone)


Thorsten Sellhorn

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Munich ( email )

Ludwigstr. 28 RG IV
Munich, Bavaria 80539
+49(0)89-21806264 (Phone)
+49(0)89-21806327 (Fax)


LMU Munich ( email )

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Paderborn, 33098
+491705639777 (Phone)

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