Degree Name

Master of Accountancy - Research


School of Accounting and Finance


Purpose: The focus of this study is the implementation and adoption of international accounting standards in Australia in the period 2002- 2005. The adoption of international standards came into play when the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) with the persuasion of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) launched its harmonisation program in 1996. The aim of the harmonisation program was to improve the quality of Australia’s standards and to improve the international comparability of the existing standards for cross border listing. ASX funded the harmonisation program to ensure that ultimately AASB would adopt the international accounting standards. Also, the Liberal government introduced the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) as a body to oversee the AASB standard setting process to ensure the move towards international harmonisation in Australia. The FRC was proposed by the government as part of the Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (CLERP) in 1997. Theoretical framework: This study applies a critical approach to analyse and explain the political environment that existed at the time the AASB was directed by FRC, in 2002, to work towards the wholesale adoption of international accounting standards by 1 January 2005. Discourse Analysis has been used as the method to identify the key players involved in the adoption of international accounting standards during 2002. The literary devices and wordy flourishes that have been used by the key players to promote action have been taken into account. In particular, this study investigates the ASX activities that took place around 2002 in relation to the push towards wholesale adoption of international standards as an important factor for ASX to increase its possible and existing listings. The theoretical framework adopted for the purpose of explaining the key players actions, is based on the Actor Network Theory (ANT) and in particular Callon’s translation model. In ANT, translation is the mechanism by which the networks progressively take form, resulting in a situation where certain actors control others. According to Callon (1986a, p. 26) “translation is a definition of roles, a distribution of roles and the delineation of a scenario” the actors try “to oblige an entity to consent to detour”. Translation, when an actor network is created, consists of four moments, problematisation, interessement, enrolment, and mobilisation. Every moment of the translation process requires rhetorical devices to be successful and lead to one another. Findings: By closely looking at the procedures that led to adoption of the international accounting standards, as well as the history of standard setting in Australia. It can be argued that Australia has been always influenced by the UK and US accountancy. This behaviour has been justified by different persuasive reasoning in different period of time, for example when early professional accountancy bodies in Australia adopted their English counterpart’s guidelines and objectives, it was on the premise that it had widespread application in Britain over several years as the “proof of their soundness and acceptance” (ICAA 1966, p.3).