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Financial accounting and reporting in Germany: A case study on German accounting tradition and experiences with the IFRS adoption

Rolf Uwe Fülbier and Malte Klein

No 2013-01, Bayreuth Working Papers on Finance, Accounting and Taxation (FAcT-Papers) from University of Bayreuth, Chair of Finance and Banking

Abstract: Financial accounting is rooted in national thoughts, traditions and institutional settings. As a consequence, accounting has developed heterogeneously over time and fulfilled contracting purposes in divergent national environments. Against this background, we argue that the ongoing process of accounting internationalization and imposed harmonization carries with it the danger of deforming country-specific balancing factors in the accounting systems, especially when the national environment for economic and contractual activities is not harmonized at all. In contrast to more evolutionary integration and adjustment processes of the past where spillover effects have always existed, the rapidity of the current process and coercive nature increases country-specific frictions. To support our argument and to substantiate the interplay of accounting as a contractual device and country-specific characteristics, we provide an in-depth case study of one country, Germany. We illustrate how the traditional German commercial law accounting system has evolved over time to meet specific contractual needs. We demonstrate how the current process of globalization and accounting internationalization has been attended by increasing frictions and challenges, especially on the contractual and regulatory level. We finally investigate the consequences on the German standard setting system, which also includes the changing role of German accounting research.

Keywords: German Accounting; Accounting Research; HGB; Code Law; Legal System; Socioeconomic-Environment; Institutional Settings; SME; Book-Tax-Conformity; Debt Financing; Accounting History (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K22 M41 N00 N24 N44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc, nep-his and nep-law
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