Objectives of IFRS : Unlocking Financial Clarity

by Sianna Shah

Objectives of IFRS

The objectives of IFRS aim to unify the diverse landscape of international finance. Spearheaded by the IFRS Foundation and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), these standards strive for global harmonization in financial reporting. They prioritize transparency, consistency, and comparability of financial statements across borders, addressing the challenges of differing regulatory standards that hinder global economic integration.

Furthermore, IFRS extends beyond mere alignment of accounting practices. It plays a crucial role in enhancing the integrity and efficiency of the global financial market. IFRS supports informed economic decision-making by ensuring high-quality, understandable, comparable financial information. This, in turn, contributes to the stability and growth of global capital markets, facilitating trust among investors and other stakeholders.

Historical Genesis of IFRS: A Quest for Global Harmonization

The journey towards IFRS began in earnest in 2001, with the IASB taking the helm to develop standards that would facilitate global harmonization of accounting standards.  

Before this, the need for comparability in financial statements was a significant barrier for investors looking at opportunities across borders. For example, a survey conducted in the early 2000s highlighted that nearly 40% of investors found discrepancies in accounting standards a significant hurdle in international investment decisions.

What are the Objectives of IFRS

The adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) has been associated with a variety of benefits across different aspects of financial markets and corporate finance, according to several studies: here are the objectives of IFRS along with links to the research.

To Develop a Single Set of High-Quality, Understandable, Enforceable, and Globally Accepted Financial Reporting Standards

      • Genesis: The IFRS Foundation was established to address the challenges of globalization in financial markets, aiming to harmonize accounting standards across jurisdictions to improve transparency and comparability.
      • Eduyush Insight: The comparability of financial reports has improved following IFRS adoption, which is critical for investors and other stakeholders in making informed economic decisions (Neel, 2017).

    To Promote the Use and Rigorous Application of Those Standards

        • Genesis: Consistent application ensures that financial statements are comparable across international borders, facilitating global investment and economic growth.
        • Eduyush Insight: IFRS adoption is associated with improved market liquidity and a decrease in the cost of equity. These benefits likely arise from enhanced financial reporting comparability, facilitating more informed investment decisions and reducing the risk investors perceive (Opare et al., 2019).

      To Bring About Convergence of National Accounting Standards and IFRS to High-Quality Solutions

          • Genesis: Before adopting IFRS, companies operating in multiple jurisdictions had to prepare multiple versions of financial statements, leading to inefficiency and confusion.
          •  Insight: A study indicated that firms adopting IFRS experienced a 3-5% reduction in equity financing costs, showcasing the benefits of convergence. (Kim & Ryu, 2018).

        To Provide High-Quality, Transparent, and Comparable Information in Financial Statements

            • Genesis: High-quality financial reporting is crucial for investors, creditors, and other stakeholders to make informed economic decisions.
            • Insight: FRS adoption has been shown to reduce earnings management, leading to higher quality and more reliable financial reporting, essential for public accountability and informed decision-making (Houqe et al., 2011).

          To Assist Participants in the World’s Capital Markets and Other Users in Making Economic Decisions

              • Genesis: The global economy relies on accurate and accessible financial information to support investment and credit decisions.
              •  Insight: The adoption of IFRS has been linked to an increase in cross-border equity investment, suggesting that IFRS facilitates more excellent cross-border investment by reducing information asymmetry and increasing the comparability of financial reports (Lee & Fargher, 2010).

            To Promote Public Accountability in Reporting Financial Performance by Entities

                • Genesis: In the wake of financial scandals and crises, there was a clear need for standards that enforced accountability and transparency.
                •  Insight: Following the implementation of IFRS, there was a notable increase in the accountability of reporting entities, as evidenced by improved audit quality and enhanced investor trust.

              To Support Economic Efficiency by Helping Investors Identify Opportunities and Risks Across the World

                  • Genesis: By reducing information asymmetry, IFRS makes it easier for investors to compare opportunities and risks globally, enhancing capital allocation.
                  • Numerical Insight: Studies suggest that IFRS adoption is associated with increased cross-border investment flows, with countries adopting IFRS seeing a rise in foreign direct investment by up to 20%.

                Summing up on Objectives of IFRS

                The genesis of IFRS objectives lies in the need for a cohesive, transparent, and comparable financial reporting system that supports global capital markets. The adoption of IFRS facilitates international business operations. It enhances the quality of financial reporting, fostering trust among investors and contributing to global economic stability. The numerical insights underscore IFRS's significant impact on improving financial reporting and efficiency in the global marketplace.

                If you would like to learn more on IFRS in depth, enrol with us on our wonderful Diploma in IFRS or the AICPA IFRS certification program


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