This study examines the evolution of the interpretative support provided by the IFRS Interpretations Committee (IC), the interpretative body of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), over the period 2002–2019. The study focuses on its most frequent output, agenda decisions (ADs), which can provide guidance that practice has long considered relevant and has been explicitly considered authoritative since 2020. We investigate whether the IC has provided additional guidance and changed the formulation of ADs over time in response to constituents’ criticism from the perspective of legitimacy theory. We find that the IC has progressively added more explanatory material and formulated ADs in a more complete and nuanced manner so as to gain consequential legitimacy by substantially addressing the constituents’ interpretation demands. This evolution points to the growing role of ADs, which strike a balance between difficult to reconcile objectives. Providing more substantial support to constituents’ submissions can be seen as a balancing act between a more explicit shift from principles to rules, and leaving room for local interpretations that could threaten the consistent application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). In shedding light on the IC's substantial response to the challenges posed by conflicting pressures and objectives, we add to the standard-setting literature by providing evidence-based insights into under-researched areas of IFRS interpretation. We also respond to calls for more policy-oriented research and offer two proposals to enhance the clarity of ADs in the light of their evolving content and increasing relevance.

Interpreting IFRS: The Evolving Role of Agenda Decisions

Ramassa, Paola;Quagli, Alberto
2024-01-01

Abstract

This study examines the evolution of the interpretative support provided by the IFRS Interpretations Committee (IC), the interpretative body of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), over the period 2002–2019. The study focuses on its most frequent output, agenda decisions (ADs), which can provide guidance that practice has long considered relevant and has been explicitly considered authoritative since 2020. We investigate whether the IC has provided additional guidance and changed the formulation of ADs over time in response to constituents’ criticism from the perspective of legitimacy theory. We find that the IC has progressively added more explanatory material and formulated ADs in a more complete and nuanced manner so as to gain consequential legitimacy by substantially addressing the constituents’ interpretation demands. This evolution points to the growing role of ADs, which strike a balance between difficult to reconcile objectives. Providing more substantial support to constituents’ submissions can be seen as a balancing act between a more explicit shift from principles to rules, and leaving room for local interpretations that could threaten the consistent application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). In shedding light on the IC's substantial response to the challenges posed by conflicting pressures and objectives, we add to the standard-setting literature by providing evidence-based insights into under-researched areas of IFRS interpretation. We also respond to calls for more policy-oriented research and offer two proposals to enhance the clarity of ADs in the light of their evolving content and increasing relevance.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1158835
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