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Author(s): Stefanescu Cristina Alexandrina | | |

Journal: Annals of the University of Oradea : Economic Science
ISSN 1222-569X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 595;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: disclosure | financial instruments | IFRS 7 | banking | Romania

International harmonization and convergence of accounting had gradually become one of the most challenging topic of worldwide research and a very hot debated issue in practitioners’ sphere, too. Several studies have addressed both formal and material accounting harmonization along time, a wide range of instruments have been developed and various statistical tools have been used in this respect. Basing on this background, we focused our attention on Romanian banking system which is now experiencing a great challenge by finally entirely adopting IFRS after the first step from 2005 when consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS were required and the second one from 2009 when informative individual financial statements under IFRS begun compulsory. Therefore, the objective of our paper is to empirically measure and compare the levels and progress of material accounting harmonization in Romanian banking sector focusing on financial instruments and their related disclosure requirements. First studies conducted in the measurement of harmonization practices (Nair and Frank, 1981; McKinnon and Janell, 1984; Doupnik and Taylor, 1985) started at the beginning of the 80’s, but were merely descriptive, focused on examining how IAS had been adopted in various countries around the world. In the earliest 90’s, there were developed the first instruments for measuring material harmonization, namely the concentration indices (H, C and I Index) (Van der Tas, 1988; 1992) and various other forms of these (Archer et al., 1995), which were widely used in various research studies (Herrmann and Thomas, 1995; Aisbitt, 2001; Taplin, 2004). Basing on these measurement tools and cconsidering the main aim of our study – to measure material accounting harmonization in Romanian banking sector – we stated four hypotheses, thus trying to answer our questions: “Are the accounting practices related to financial instruments disclosure in Romanian banking system harmonized with international requirements? Was there a progress in this respect in the latest years?” The research methodology used for achieving our goal is based on both static and dynamic analysis using appropriate statistical tools – concentration indices (H or Herfindahl index) for measuring the improvements in financial instruments’ disclosure practices,, thus pointing out the degree of material harmonization reached step by step as well as the overall progress. In this respect, firstly, we developed a disclosure checklist structured on three sections dealing with financial instruments’ general disclosures, derivatives and hedge accounting and risk disclosures. The results of the performed analysis reveal that accounting practices in Romanian banking sector as regards disclosures related to financial instruments experienced a continuous improvement both at individual and consolidated level, but the level of material harmonization is still relatively moderate. In case of individual financial reporting this can be explained by the recently introduced requirement of preparing financial statements in accordance with IFRS and only for informative purposes. Thus, by now we can talk about a real material harmonization just in case of consolidated financial reporting. Unlike prior research studies which were focused on similar goals - to measure accounting harmonization around the world, our paper provides a particular approach on a specific business field, the banking one that was not separately explored on this topic before. Thus, we considered for analysis its related accounting practices focusing on financial instruments disclosure, which is a particular issue, too, thus enriching the research literature on this field.
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