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Comparative international accounting systems and practices

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Majdouline E.
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  1. Anglo Saxon accounting
  2. United States
    1. Influences on accounting development
    2. Accounting principles and practices
    3. Financial statements
    4. Measurement practices
    5. Consolidation practices
  3. United Kingdom
    1. Influences on accounting development
    2. Accounting principles and practices
    3. Financial statements
    4. Measurement practices
    5. Consolidation practices
  4. Nordic accounting
  5. The Netherlands
    1. Influences on accounting development
    2. Accounting principles and practices
    3. Financial statements
    4. Measurement practices
    5. Consolidations practices
  6. Sweden
    1. Influences on accounting development
    2. Accounting principles and practices
    3. Financial statements
    4. Measurement practices
    5. Consolidation practices
  7. Germanic accounting
  8. Germany
    1. Influences on accounting development
    2. Accounting principles and practices
    3. Financial statements
    4. Measurement practices
  9. Switzerland
    1. Influence on accounting development
    2. Accounting principles and practices
    3. Measurement practices
  10. Latin accounting
  11. France
    1. Influences on accounting development
    2. Accounting principles and practices
    3. Financial statements
  12. Italy
  13. Asian accounting
  14. Japan
  15. Summary
  16. Bibliograhy

There is no doubt that Anglo-Saxon accounting can be distinguished from accounting in continental Europe, Asia, Latin American, and many other parts of the world. It is practiced not only in the United States and United Kingdom, but also to an important extent in countries where, for example, the United Kingdom has had a major colonial influence, such as in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, and South Africa. Anglo-Saxon accounting tends to be relatively optimistic and transparent compared to the Germanic and Latin countries, as well as Japan.
In many Ways, Accounting in the United Kingdom is very similar as might be expected given the importance or the historical and investment connections between the two countries. Just as the language and legal system were exported from the United Kingdom to the United States, so were the founding fathers of U.S accounting, including pioneers such as Arthur Young (a Glasgow University graduate of the 1880s). Nevertheless, the United States has adapted rather than adopted the United Kingdom accounting tradition. Indeed, the more recent historical and environmental circumstances of the United States have given rise to some significant distinguishing features.
The securities markets are the dominant influence on accounting regulation in the United States. Dealings in securities and investor protection are regulated and enforced at the federal government level under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which were passed in response to the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent financial crises.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was established with the legal authority to enforce the securities laws and also to formulate as well as enforce accounting standards. However, the SEC recognizes as authoritative the ?Generally Accepted accounting Principles? (GAAP) embodied in standards issued by an independent Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), witch was established in 1973 following criticism of the standard setting procedures of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, thus the standard setting role has been delegated to the FASB with the SEC acting in only a supervisory capacity unless it deems it necessary to intervene, which it has done on only rare occasions (e.g. With respect to oil and gas accounting). Corporations are required to follow EASB standards; otherwise the SEC will refuse registration and hence trading in their securities. It should be noted that only listed corporations (a minority of U.S. corporations) are required to comply with the very detailed regulations imposed by the SEC for investor protection purposes.
The FASB has a very open approach to standard setting known as operating in the ?sunshine?. All meetings are open to the public and a variety of opinions sought in an elaborate ?due-process? in an effort to ensure that the public interest is properly served. In order to help formulate new standards and improve existing ones; the FASB has developed an explicit conceptual framework of objectives and qualitative characteristics of financial reporting in its series of statements of financial accounting concepts.
The Fast's pronouncements on accounting practice are issued as ?Statements of Financial Accounting Standards? (SFAS). More Than 100 of these had been issued by 1991. Taken overall, the FASB Standards are quite detailed and voluminous compared to U.K standards, for example, this suggest that while the United Stats is similar in many ways to the United Kingdom and Other Anglo-Saxon countries, it is unique in having perhaps the most comprehensive system of accounting regulations in the world, at least so far as securities markets are concerned.

[...] Accounting Principles and Practices Similar to Germany, the accounting tradition in Switzerland gives preference to the information needs of creditors and the tax authorities. However, the importance of the Swiss securities market is growing and many large Swiss companies are seeking capital in international financial markets. As a result, a growing number of large companies are making extensive voluntary disclosures of information consistent with internationally accepted practice, although many major multinationals do not publish consolidated accounts. Financial Statements A typical Swiss annual report and accounts comprises a parent company balance sheet, income statement, and an annual report by the directors together with the board's proposals for the appropriation of income. [...]


[...] In addition, forecasts of sales, income, and dividends are required to be disclosed wince before the financial year end (i.e months and 1 month beforehand). The Kessan Tanshin, giving a summary of the actual results for the current year, is also required to give a forecast of sales, income, and dividends for the forthcoming financial year. SUMMARY 1. A comparative analysis of accounting systems reveals distinctive patterns of accounting, but also unique features applicable to each country depending on its history and culture Anglo-Saxon accounting is clearly [...]


[...] Accounting Principles and Practices In the United Kingdom, similar to the United States, primacy of place is given to the information needs of investors. It is expected, however, that most of the needs of other groups will be similar to investors and thus satisfied in any event. The special needs of other groups are usually met privately or on a voluntary basis (e.g., a value added statement for employees). Financial Statements A typical U.K. Annual Report and Accounts comprises a consolidated profit and loss (income) statement, balance sheet, and funds flow statement cash flow statement following the publication of FRS 1). [...]

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