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Chapter 5 The Influence of Uncertainty Avoidance on Accountants’ Materiality Judgments: A Cross-Cultural Study of German and Italian Accountants

Globalization and Contextual Factors in Accounting: The Case of Germany

ISBN: 978-1-78052-244-9, eISBN: 978-1-78052-245-6

ISSN: 1479-3512

Publication date: 1 March 2012

Abstract

Over the last decade, international accounting harmonization and convergence with the increasing adoption of IFRS as national accounting standards have become dominant topics in international accounting research (Ashbaugh & Pincus, 2001; Chand & Patel, 2008; Christensen et al., 2007; Daske & Gebhardt, 2006; Daske et al., 2008; Ding et al., 2007; Hellmann et al., 2010; Lantto & Sahlström, 2008; Larson & Kenny, 2011; Peng & van der Laan Smith, 2010; Rezaee et al., 2010; Tyrrall et al., 2007). Given that the primary goal of international convergence is enhancing comparability of financial statements across countries, the influence of accountants’ professional judgment in the interpretation and application of accounting standards has increasingly been recognized as an important and controversial topic. Indeed, a growing number of studies have analyzed the influence of culture on standard setting (Bloom & Naciri, 1989; Ding et al., 2005; Schultz & Lopez, 2001), auditor independence (Agacer & Doupnik, 1991; Hwang et al., 2008; Patel & Psaros, 2000), and accountants’ values and judgments (Doupnik & Riccio, 2006; Doupnik & Richter, 2003, 2004; Patel, 2003). Although prior research has provided evidence that culture influences accountants’ exercise of professional judgments, these studies have largely focused on demonstrating differences between accountants from very distinct cultures or accounting systems. For example, Chand (2008) as well as Doupnik and Richter (2004) examined differences in the judgment of professional accountants with regard to the interpretation and application of uncertainty expressions by comparing Australian and Fijian and German and American accountants, respectively. Moreover, recent research on professional accountants’ judgments (Chand, 2008; Doupnik & Riccio, 2006; Doupnik & Richter, 2003) has largely focused on providing evidence that accountants from different accounting clusters significantly differ in their exercise of professional judgment. Indeed, researchers have often based their country selections on theoretical models of accounting clusters such as Gray's (1988) framework of accounting values or Nobes’ (1983) international accounting classification, predominantly to show differences between the Anglo-American accounting model and the Continental European accounting model.

Citation

Heidhues, E. and Patel, C. (2012), "Chapter 5 The Influence of Uncertainty Avoidance on Accountants’ Materiality Judgments: A Cross-Cultural Study of German and Italian Accountants", Heidhues, E. and Patel, C. (Ed.) Globalization and Contextual Factors in Accounting: The Case of Germany (Studies in Managerial and Financial Accounting, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 123-149. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3512(2012)0000023010

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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