ACCOUNTING STANDARD AND THE QUALITY OF FINANCIAL REPORTING IN NIGERIA
This study is motivated by a desire to examine the influence of accounting standards on financial reporting in Nigeria banking sector. In light of the empirical review and other discussions, a number of questions arose as to whether the effects of the various accounting standards issued by the NASB on financial reporting in Nigeria and to check the level of compliance to standards issued by the NASB by business entities in Nigeria. Questionnaire was administered to some selected staff of the sampled respondents in Nigeria. Data was collected and analyzed using the simple percentage, descriptive statistics and chi-square statistical tool. This study revealed among other things that the NASB should ensure that its standards suit the Nigeria business environment so as to meet up with our local reporting needs. It is recommended that the standards should be continuously reviewed in the light of relative charges in the environment to make them relevant in financial reporting.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 The Need for Financial Reporting
2.2 Characteristics of Useful Accounting Information
2.3 Forms and Contents of Financial Statements
2.4 Regulation of Financial Reporting
2.5 Accounting Standards
2.6 Conceptual Framework for Accounting Standards
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1 Analysis of Questionnaires by Respondents
4.2 Testing of Hypothesis
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION
Prudent business decision-making thrives on the availability of reliable financial information. The items of financial information relied upon by economic decision-makers are contained in corporate financial reports (including income statement/profit and loss account, balance sheet, cash flow statement and value added statement). The decision-makers are many and varied in their goals. They can be classified into separate interest groups. There is the equity investor group, including existing and potential shareholders and holders of convertible securities, options or warrants. The second group consists of the loan creditor groups, including existing and potential holders of debentures and loan stock and providers of short-term secured and unsecured loans and finances. In the third group is the employee group; this is made up of analyst-advisers, including financial analysis and journalists, economic, statisticians, researchers, trade unions, stockbrokers and other providers of advisory services such as credit-rating agencies. The fifth group consists of the business contact group. These are customers, trade creditors and suppliers and, in a different sense, competitors, business rivals including those interested in mergers, amalgamations, departments, agencies concerned with the supervision of commerce and industry, with local authorities. The final group comprises the public, including taxpayers, rate payers, consumers and other communities as special interest groups, such as political parties, consumers, environmental protection agencies, local and regional pressure groups (Alexander and Britton, 1988).
A striking feature of these is that their information requirements are sometimes in conflict with one another, when attempt is made to satisfy them simultaneously, in a single financial report. For example, government’s requirement for financial information for purpose of taxation may be incompatible with the management’s decision to minimize tax liability. Although tax avoidance is legitimate, sometimes, management’s evasion, which is an illegal act. Tax evasion is a deliberate action to refuse to pay tax and is regarded as a criminal offence. Environmental agencies (like Federal Agency) are interested in the protection of the environment in which the business organization operates, thereby entailing huge corporate capital expenditure, whereas the business organization naturally aspires to maximize profits and cash inflows by minimizing costs. The maximization of corporate cash outflows towards improved conditions of service as part of the staff welfare package is a constant item on the agenda of trade union, but management would always like to postpone upward wages and emoluments review for as long as possible. Ordinary shareholders with short-term focus may not be supportive of transferring profits to reserves. They would rather prefer the firm to apply a substantial portion of the profit to pay immediate dividends. Each group of users, therefore, tends to perceive the reliability of financial statements from its own narrow interest.
However, the International Accounting Standards Committee (1989) is of the opinion that:
While all the information needs of all these users cannot be met by financial statements, there are needs which are common to all users. As investor are providers of risk capital to the enterprise, the provision of financial statements that meet their needs will also meet most of the needs of other users that financial statements can satisfy (Hendriksen and Ven Breda, 2001:146).
Also, it has been noted that ownership is different from management: hence there is a need to ensure that owners’ interests do not suffer in the hands of selfish management through unscrupulous manipulation of results reported in financial statements. The issues involved are captured in agency theory (Jensen and Mecking, 1976; Van Horne, 2001).
Investors are becoming worry of the Nigerian corporate accounting environment, based on the negative reports of the influential Transparency International (www.Transparency.org/cpi/2005), which ranked Nigeria the second most corrupt country in the world for 2003, the third most corrupt in 2004; and the sixth most corrupt in 2005, if necessary research effort is not spared, the lack of trust in corporate financial reporting could worsen with Nigeria losing out in the stiff international competition for foreign direct investment. The generous fiscal incentives directed at attracting large portfolios of foreign direct investments to Nigeria appear to yield only marginal results because of inadequacy of financial reporting system (Adeyemi and Arowomole, 2004).
Due to competition, globalization and the challenge of technology, the changing landscape of corporate financial reporting has probably led to aggressive financial reports, which fail to comply with the disclosure provisions, as specifically required by the accounting and reporting standards. The need to comply with the laws and standards is generally acknowledged as a problem.
Professional indiscipline on the part of the preparers of financial statements and possible collusion of the parties involved in managing an organization’s financial reporting may be a problem. Current thinking in accounting now centre upon the need for the international harmonization of financial reporting.
Against this backdrop, the following research questions are raised:
The broad objective of this study is to examine the effect of the Nigerian Accounting Standard Board (NASB), on financial reporting in Nigeria.
Specifically, the objectives of this study include:
HI: There is a relationship between quality of financial reporting and standards issued by the NASB.
HI: There is a relationship between adequacy in measures put in place and compliance to standards.
Hi: The standards are not deficient in terms of area of coverage in financial reporting and meet up with time challenges.
HI: There is a relationship between uniformity and comparability of financial reports and standards issued by the NASB.
The study is focused on examining the effects of the various standards issued by the Nigerian Accounting Standards issued by the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) on financial reporting in Nigerian, and it is restricted in terms of the following:
This study should enhance the understating and reliability of management and financial analysts’ forecasts of corporate earnings, thereby stimulating capital market operations. It has the potential of assisting stakeholders in knowing what is being disclosed, and why, in assessing the impact of compliance or non-compliance on the usefulness of financial statements. It is also hoped that the study will enhance the understanding of firm-level disclosures and compliance across industries in Nigeria. This will enable regulatory bodies to focus on areas of challenges and reduce information asymmetry. The study should also facilitate the functioning of directors of companies of all sizes, managers who have to deal with fixed assets, stock, work-in-progress, foreign currency, intangibles and other organizational resources, and accountants who need to update their knowledge of the impact of accounting standards.
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