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An Executive Guide to IFRS: Content, Costs and Benefits to Business by Peter Walton

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The use of IAS/IFRS in the world

In the 1990s, when the international standard-setter was working hard to complete its IOSCO package, its standards were already in use in a number of different ways. A number of European countries allowed domestic multinationals to use IAS if they were active on international capital markets. This was the case for Germany, Belgium and France, within the EU. Italy required the use of IAS by listed companies where national rules had no standard and Switzerland recommended use of IAS. Indeed Swiss international companies such as Nestlé and Roche have long reported using international standards.

The World Bank was (and is) a significant agent in encouraging countries to use international standards

In addition to this use by individual companies, a number of developing and newly industrialized countries, such as South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia, used IAS as a model for their domestic standards. These were generally countries with a history of using Anglo-Saxon accounting as a result of their colonial past. The World Bank was (and is) a significant agent in encouraging countries to use international standards. While at the time the international standard-setter was happy to provide this input, it has now resulted in a situation where a number of countries claim that their domestic standards are in line with IAS/IFRS. However, they do not necessarily adopt all the continuing changes to IFRS, and potentially cause confusion in the international markets ...

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