«Barbara E. Weißenberger / Anne B. Stahl / Sven Vorstius Changing from German GAAP to IFRS or US GAAP: Objectives and achievements – An empirical ...»
Most companies stated that, on the whole, they had been able to fulfill all their expectations.
This holds for both IFRS and US GAAP users.
Looking at the targets in detail, however, shows that nearly 50% of the goals were either not reached or the level of achievement was significantly below what had been expected. In particular, neither the expansion and internationalization of the body of investors nor an increase in the attractiveness for institutional investors could be realized. At this point an overestimation of the (positive) effects of converting to an international reporting system becomes patent. This could in part be attributed to the 'conversion hype' that was prevalent at the end of the nineties. On the other hand, it can be shown that other long-term flanking measures, such as support by investor relations and a high level of communication with other stakeholders, are very important for a successful transition. As the empirical results reveal such a clear divergence between analytical theory (what one would expect) and business reality (what one perceives), the need for more in-depth research on the process of change in GAAP regimes is clearly indicated.
The analysis of seventeen statements with respect to the characteristics of a particular reporting system is implemented with a logistic regression model identifying the aspects that were most important for the final decision. Six aspects are identified by the model: companies that opted for IFRS supported the view that it is more similar to German GAAP, is more common and accepted in Europe and offers greater opportunities to influence the standardsetting process. Companies converted to a US GAAP regime on the other hand if they believed it to be more advantageous with regard to the US market and of greater global importance. In addition, they do not expect the SEC to approve IFRS in the near future. These results clearly show that attitudes towards the two types of GAAP differ and this finding can be exploited in future research with respect, for example, to the standard-setting process and the role played by companies as institutional investors in this context.
After the EU regulation in July 2002 the situation changed. Which solutions US GAAP users will develop remains an open question. With regard to our analysis it will be interesting to see if the trend reverts to parallel reporting in accordance with IFRS and US GAAP or if current US GAAP users convert to IFRS. Irrespective of that question, our analysis shows that some of the expected goals with regard to the transition could be achieved but major objectives could not be realized. In the light of the substantial (opportunity) costs that have to be incurred with a change of GAAP regime (Heintges, 2003: 621), any decision in favor or against such a change must be carefully balanced. This is particularly relevant for companies in Europe that are not listed but might be obliged to report under IFRS in the future. But even if a company is forced to change to IFRS under the provisions of the EU regulation, our analysis indicates that the financial or operating business objectives associated with the change of GAAP regime may not be easy to achieve.
The findings of the studies are heterogeneous with respect to different market segments and with respect to the differentiation between IFRS and US GAAP; tests about the achievement of both objectives and a statistical discrimination to link objectives and the reporting system chosen are not provided by these studies.
Nevertheless, if there had been a tendency towards one type of international GAAP this would introduce a bias into our analysis.
Note that the Neuer Markt has been terminated in 2003 due to several financial fraud cases that strongly reduced the investors’ trust in this segment. The remaining companies listed in the Neuer Markt were included into other capital-market segments.
In this context, Pellens (2001: 89) mentions the IPO of Deutsche Telekom with a volume of about 10 billion EURO in 1996 that could not be supplied by the capital market in Germany alone.
In 2000, 219 companies were listed in the Amtlicher Handel. 55 of these companies used either IFRS or US GAAP, and 54 of them were included in the DAX100. The other 46 DAX100-companies were still using German GAAP.
The companies that did only plan to switch to an international reporting system were excluded in the latter part of the analysis.
The size of a company was determined by its market capitalization. CDAX or Composite DAX is a stock index comprising all companies listed on the German stock market.
The coefficient of variation (CV) describes the homogeneity of the answers – the higher the CV the more heterogeneous the opinion on a specific aspect.
The Mann-Whitney-U-Test is designed to compare arithmetic means of two independent samples even if the items are not normally distributed. A significant Z-value shows statistical differences of the arithmetic means (Toutenburg, 2000: 172).
The Wilcoxon test is used to compare the rank of an item in two independent samples (Toutenburg, 2000:
The number of companies in the analysis from here on is reduced by 11 companies as these did not yet adopt a different system at the cutoff time of the survey.
This study carried out between November 1996 and Februar 1997 was answered by 56 companies from a sample of the 200 biggest companies (size criterium: amount of turnover). Multiple answers were possible.
Only 79 questionnaires of the survey could be analyzed with respect to this research question.
The requirement for the test is the existence of at least 25 cases in each dependent variable. The condition is met using 40 observations of IFRS users and 39 observations of US GAAP users. Segmentation between DAX100 and Neuer Markt therefore is not possible. The Durbin-Watson statistic and the multicollinearity test deny the existence of autocorrelation and multicollinearity. For more details on logistic regressions see Krafft (1997: 625).
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Mean=arithmetic mean of answers, CV=coefficient of variation, Z=Mann-Whitney-U-Test statistic Level of significance: ***= below 0,01 **= below 0,05
Table 4: Discriminating aspects for the choice of an international reporting system