The Impact of IFRS 8 on Geographical Segment Information
Leung, E. and A. Verriest. 2015. The Impact of IFRS 8 on Geographical Segment Information. Journal of Business Finance & Accounting 42 (3): 273-309.
Posted: 22 Dec 2015
Date Written: October 16, 2014
This study investigates how the introduction of IFRS 8 affects segment disclosures for a large sample of European firms. In contrast to prior research we focus on geographical segments. Similar to SFAS 131, IFRS 8 aims to improve segment disclosures by requiring a “management approach”, which introduces considerable reporting discretion. We compare a hand-collected sample of restated IFRS 8 segment disclosures with historical IAS 14R disclosures. We find that geographical segments are more disaggregated under IFRS 8, although the number of financial items per segment and the likelihood of reporting segmental earnings decline. More importantly, we document predictable heterogeneity in the disclosure quality of segment information. First, we find that firms reporting poorly under IAS 14 continue to do so under IFRS 8, suggesting more cross-sectional divergence under the latter standard. Second, our results show that the impact of IFRS 8 varies with corporate transparency. Finally, we fail to document any clear economic and informational effects post IFRS 8, even for firms that exhibit disclosure quality improvements. Overall, we provide comprehensive evidence on the effects of IFRS 8 on geographical segment information and show that prior reporting behavior is a useful indicator for the impact of a new standard.
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