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M. Cameran, D. Campa, A. Pettinicchio. IFRS Adoption Among Private Companies: Impact on Earnings Quality. Journal of Accounting, Auditing & Finance, Vol.29, No.3, July 2014, pp. 278-305

 

EU gave the opportunity to each Member State to oblige/allow non-listed (i.e. private) companies to use IFRS. Considering a sample of Italian private companies which switched to IFRS in the time span from 2005 to 2008, we compare financial reporting quality between IFRS adopters and a matched sample of companies still using local (Italian) GAAP. This should be of interest for the EU Commission in evaluating the impact of the current financial reporting regulation and for EU national regulators, who are left with a certain degree of flexibility in endorsing parts of the European legislation. Overall, our results show that IFRS adoption did not improve reporting quality among private companies but, on the contrary, decreased it. As companies can exploit the level of flexibility embedded in IFRS to pursue their own reporting interests (Kvaal & Nobes, 2012; Leuz, 2010), separate analyses were conducted taking into consideration firms’ incentives. In particular, assuming that entities controlled by listed companies might have switched to IFRS mainly for complying with parent company requirements and/or simplifying the financial reporting process, we run the analyses separately for this subsample and other firms. Findings reveal signs of earnings quality deterioration for both groups although the impact seems slightly worse for subsidiaries of listed companies.