Disincentives to Exchange Customized Local GAAP for IFRS
53 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2023 Last revised: 4 Apr 2023
Date Written: November 14, 2022
The global adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) resulted in the loss of local Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Some local GAAPs were tailored to capture the adopting jurisdictions' economic nuances, which IFRS may not address. One example is our setting, where, unlike IFRS, Canadian GAAP allowed the recognition of regulatory claims (i.e., assets and liabilities). Given this disparity, Canadian regulators granted rate-regulated entities the choice to opt out of Canada’s mandatory adoption of IFRS. Leveraging this unique setting, we test whether the loss of allowances under local GAAP is costly enough to deter companies from adopting IFRS. We find evidence that utilities with a history of capitalizing regulatory assets under Canadian GAAP are significantly less likely to adopt IFRS. This relation is more pronounced when a company has higher regulatory assets recognized under local GAAP, engages with the US capital markets, and has a high perceived cost of raising future capital. However, we find that the future cost of capital is lower for entities that adopt IFRS after historically capitalizing regulatory assets. Our results identify a new cost of adopting IFRS largely unexplored in the literature: the cost of losing jurisdictionally tailored accounting standards not included within IFRS.
Keywords: IFRS adoption, rate-regulated activities, regulatory accounting, local GAAP, Canada
JEL Classification: F6, M41, M48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation