It’s an important issue for many in the accountancy profession - how does one converge the different reporting methods and standards across countries and cultures?
Would it be practical to have standardised reporting methods?
These were among the questions that Alan Parkinson discussed recently with ACCA students, members and affiliates in Dubai.
Dr Parkinson travelled with Lynsie Chew, also from the School of Management at UCL, as part of a promotional tour for the University of London's MSc Professional Accountancy.
They spoke to prospective and current University of London students at the PwC Academy in Dubai before Dr Parkinson engaged in debate with ACCA delegates. Over 180 registered for the event at the Nassima Royal Hotel.
Parkinson discovered that views were split on the issue of harmonisation.
Some were in favour. A harmonised set of reporting standards would allow chief financial officers and investors to understand each other more clearly and speak 'a common language'. It could also facilitate easier movement of financial capital around the world.
Others were more reluctant, as cultural autonomy remains important to financial reporting.
"If you view countries as being collectives of people with views, attitudes, values, beliefs - what they might perceive as an 'imposition' of standards by what is sometimes referred to as an 'Anglo-Saxon culture' is something that doesn’t necessarily sit easily with harmonisation", Parkinson explained.
Despite the divergence in views, over half the ACCA delegates believed that reporting standards remains an important issue for them in their profession.