Accounting and the Environmental Factors - An Empirical Investigation in Post-Communist Romania
Accounting and Management Information Systems, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2011
27 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2011 Last revised: 5 Jan 2012
Date Written: August 17, 2011
This research covers the Romanian financial reporting in the Post-Communist period. Firstly, through a qualitative analysis, it demonstrates the existence of three different accounting stages for the period 1997-2009. The research is based on the criterion of differentiation for accounting systems into Continental-European type and Anglo-Saxon type respectively, and tests the relevance of the criterion in the historic context. Secondly, a framework comprising economic, legal and cultural factors is developed. Using this framework the accounting environment of each historical stage is defined. The political influential factors of accounting are identified as the choices regarding accounting rules. Thirdly, through an empirical approach based mainly on the binary regression technique, the study interprets the compliance degree between accounting rules (political factors) and the accounting environment (economic, legal and cultural factors). The research propositions are confirmed, namely: for the stage (1997-2000) the accounting environment was of Continental-European type; for the stage 2001-2005, the accounting environment was of Anglo-Saxon type; for the stage 2006-2009, the accounting environment had both Continental-European and Anglo-Saxon type characteristics, the latter being predominant. These primary findings are endorsed by other conclusions regarding the influence in time of environmental factors in the Romanian context. The results confirm the thesis of political influence on accounting, arguing that for Romania there has not been a strong correlation between the choice for accounting rules and the economy’s level of development. The frequent and rough change of accounting rules has shaken the accounting reform process. The mixed thesis and Continental-European influence, expressed in different and little coordinated public measures, has affected the utility and relevance of financial reporting and thus, the quality of financial information. Furthermore, the findings corroborate the difficult adjustment to the new accounting rules (mainly to IFRS) of emergent countries. The influence of factors and drivers in different accounting environments is empirically measured. The fiscal features (creative accounting practices and fiscal incentives) had the highest explanatory power regarding accounting environments, especially in the first two stages (1997-2005). The financing systems drivers (capital structure, financial market development incentives) proved to have a certain influence, which denotes a development in stages of the capital market and the diversification of the financing resources to the end of the analysis period (2006-2009). After 2005, the accounting environment takes on certain characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon accounting system, leading to a stronger similarity to the accounting rules adopted, following the global trend of IFRS alignment. Finally, this research argues that the current Romanian accounting model (2006-2009) encompasses mixed influences. A pure accounting model, identifiable by reference to the classic accounting systems presented in the literature, can no longer be identified. This may suggest that accounting systems classification schemes have become obsolete in the context of international accounting harmonization.
Keywords: Romanian accounting history, emergent economy, accounting rules, environmental factors
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