The State of IFRS in Africa
Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, 2019
Posted: 20 May 2020
Date Written: December 18, 2019
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to appraise existing literature on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Africa. It covers all 54 African countries and their membership in regional and international accounting bodies.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper uses qualitative research methods, including review and synthesis of a variety of archival materials.
Findings – Unlike the numerous variations in IFRS adoption on other continents, IFRS countries in Africa have adopted the standards as issued by International Accounting Standard Board (IASB). However, most countries are slow to implement the ROSC (AA) recommendations for IFRS adoption due to lack of institutional and professional capacity. With regards to the unintended consequences, IFRS adoption has made international professional qualifications such as Association of Certified Chartered Accountants popular in Africa; hence, national accounting qualifications are not attractive to prospective accountants. Similarly, IFRS adoption has created a competitive advantage for the Big4 audit firms because companies in IFRS countries prefer the services of the Big4 to that of the local audit firms.
Originality/value – It is concluded that international organisations that recommend IFRS to Africa, such as the IFRS foundation, IMF and World Bank, should build the sustainable professional and institutional capacity of the countries before persuading them to adopt IFRS, because in Africa, adopting a law is easy but operationalising it has always been the challenge.
Keywords: Africa, IFRS, Implementation, Adoption, Consequence
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