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Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313

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Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in

International Accounting
j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w. e l s ev i e r. c o m / l o c a t e / a d i a c

IFRS adoption in Spain and the United Kingdom: Effects on accounting

numbers and relevance
Susana Callao Gastn 1, Cristina Ferrer Garca , Jos Ignacio Jarne Jarne 2, Jos Antonio Lanez Gadea 3
Accounting and Finance Department, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Zaragoza, Gran Va 2, Zaragoza 50005, Spain

a b s t r a c t

This paper examines the quantitative impact of mandatory IFRS adoption on nancial reporting issued by
rst-time adopters. It analyses whether relevance of nancial information is higher under IFRS than the
information provided in nancial statements prepared under local GAAP when investors have to make
decisions in the capital markets. Both studies compare results in Spain and in the United Kingdom, whose
accounting systems have been traditionally considered in opposite groups. The results of the research reveal
that the quantitative impact is signicant in both countries and, against what we expected, it is higher in the
United Kingdom. We also observe that IFRS have negative effect on the relevance of nancial reporting in
both countries, although this effect has only been signicant in Spain.
2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Saxon accounting model and the European continental model.4 For this
reason, the simultaneous adoption of new common accounting
Harmonisation of national accounting systems is one of the main standards by different countries to obtain comparable nancial
international accounting processes and it has been an issue of great information raises the question of how this change affects the nancial
importance for accounting research for many years. This harmonisa- statements issued by companies in each country.
tion process enhances the comparability of nancial statements across The purpose of this paper is to assess the quantitative impact of
countries, making them more useful for investors and other users. mandatory IFRS adoption on nancial reports issued by rst-time
Although international and regional institutions have made consid- adopters and to analyse whether IFRS make nancial information
erable efforts since 1970 to harmonise accounting rules in different more relevant for decision making in the capital markets.
countries, these efforts were not successful enough to achieve true We implement our analyses in Spain and the United Kingdom,
accounting harmonisation. whose accounting systems have been traditionally classied in
The European Union's (EU) concern for the need to move towards opposite groups. While the United Kingdom has been considered as
international comparability resulted in the approval of Regulation an important member of the Anglo Saxon accounting model, Spain has
1606/2002. This regulation made it mandatory for groups to prepare traditionally belonged to the European continental accounting model.
their consolidated nancial statements in accordance with Interna- Another reason to select these two countries is because some
tional Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International recent research ndings have shown that the effect of IFRS application
Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and accepted by the EU where any depends on how they are implemented and the level of enforcement
of their afliates are listed on any European stock market, with effect and reporting incentives in each country (Daske, Hail, Leuz, & Verdi,
from 2005. 2008). In this sense, enforcement in Spain has been found lower than
Even though every EU member state had to apply the same in the United Kingdom [Leuz, Nanda, and Wysocki (2003); Hope
accounting Directives, accounting research has shown that different (2003) and La Porta, Lopez de Silanes, and Shleifer (2006)] and it
accounting systems have been coexisting in Europe. The research on would be interesting to see if differences in the level of enforcement
accounting systems has traditionally differentiated between the Anglo can explain different effects of the mandatory IFRS application.
So, the rst objective of this paper is to explore what has been the
effect of the rst mandatory application of IFRS on the economic and
Corresponding author. Tel.: + 34 976 761000x4636; fax: + 34 976 761769. nancial positions shown by nancial information of rst-time
E-mail addresses: (S. Callao), (C. Ferrer),
adopters from Spain and the United Kingdom. (J.I. Jarne), (J.A. Lanez).
Tel.: + 34 976 762322; fax: + 34 976 761769.
2 4
Tel.: + 34 976 762217; fax: + 34 976 761769. See literature concerning accounting systems, such as, Nair and Frank (1980),
Tel.: + 34 976 761794; fax: + 34 976 761769. Salter (1991), Nobes (1992) or Jarne (1997).

0882-6110/$ see front matter 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313 305

Another key question raised after the adoption of IFRS is whether Most of research addressing the consequences of voluntary IFRS
the new standards will improve the usefulness of nancial reporting. adoption focus on the effects of this application on accounting quality.
To be useful, according to IASB Framework, information must be Van Tendeloo and Vanstraelen (2005) address the question of
understandable, reliable, comparable and relevant. In this sense, our whether the adoption of IFRS is associated with lower earnings
second objective focuses on relevance, which is one of the main management. They analyse German companies that have adopted
qualitative characteristics of nancial reporting. IFRS compared to rms reporting under German GAAP. Their results
Financial reporting is relevant when it inuences the economic suggest that the adoption of IFRS cannot be associated with lower
decisions of users, such as investors, employees, lenders, suppliers, earnings management. In the same way, Barth, Landsman, and Lang
customers or other agents. Among them, we focus on investors and (2008) examine whether application of IFRS is associated with higher
analyse whether relevance of nancial information is higher applying accounting quality and nd that rms from 21 countries applying
IFRS than local GAAP when investors have to make decisions in the them evidence less earnings management, more timely loss recogni-
capital markets of Spain and the United Kingdom. tion, and more value relevance of accounting amounts than do
We expect the relevance of nancial reporting, measured with the matched sample rms applying non-US domestic standards.
gap between market value and book value, to increase under IFRS in Hung and Subramanyam (2007) examine the effects of the
both countries. adoption of IFRS on the nancial statements reported by rms that
We expect our results to be of interest to academics involved in applied Continental-style accounting systems. Their study is based on
guiding and researching progress with international accounting a sample of German rms and they nd that total assets, book value of
harmonisation, and to the Spanish and English regulatory and equity and the variability of book value and income, are signicantly
supervisory authorities, since the study provides insight into the higher under IFRS than under German GAAP. In addition, book value
results of implementing IFRS. Our research may also be relevant to and income are no more value relevant under IFRS and they nd weak
international regulators and institutions involved in the process (e.g. evidence suggesting that IFRS income exhibits greater conditional
the European Commission, EFRAG, IASB and the securities markets), conservatism than German GAAP.
since the results provide examples of how rms required to apply IFRS Finally, Daske, Hail, Leuz, and Verdi (2007) examine the economic
have approached the process in two countries with different starting consequences of the heterogeneity in the IFRS adoption. They classify
accounting models. rms into label and serious adopters and analyse whether capital
markets respond to differences in adoption quality, using proxies for
2. Literature review market liquidity and the cost of capital. They nd that the effects of
voluntary IFRS reporting are generally modest, comparing to other
Much attention has been given in the academic and professional forms of commitment such as cross-listing in the US.
accounting literature regarding accounting harmonisation for many The introduction of a uniform accounting regime is expected to
years. Recently, this research has focused on IFRS; how they inuence ensure greater comparability and transparency of nancial reporting
capital markets, if they improve accounting quality, comparability around the world. However, recent research has questioned the
and/or transparency, economic consequences of their voluntary and quality of nancial statements prepared under IFRS standards,
mandatory implementation, and so on. Some years ago, most papers particularly in the presence of weak enforcement mechanisms and
related to IFRS studied topics linked with voluntary adoption, why adverse reporting incentives (Ball, Robin, & Wu, 2003).
some rms adopted IFRS voluntarily, what were the effects of this In this sense, recent research has begun to focus on mandatory
adoption in accounting quality and comparability, their effects in adoption of IFRS by rst-time adopters, just as the paper published by
capital markets, and so on. Jermakovich and Gornik-Tomaszewski (2006), who examine imple-
Many papers about voluntary IFRS adoption effects are related to mentation of IFRS by European Union companies. The paper provides
the fact that some countries were allowed to choose between IFRS and insight into the IFRS adoption process based on a questionnaire sent to
US GAAP for nancial reporting purposes. In this context, we could EU-listed companies in 2004. Grudnitsky and Aubert (2008) also
cite some papers such as Daske (2006), Weienberger, Stahl, and study this mandatory adoption and they report the results of the
Vorstius (2004), Bartov, Goldberg, and Kim (2005), Van der Meulen, impact and importance of mandatory adoption of IFRS on European
Gaeremynck, and Willekens (2007) or Beckman, Brandes, and Eierle Union rms. They determine the impact of mandatory adoption of
(2007). IFRS across fteen countries identifying signicant differences in
Apart from those studies, there are many papers assessing return on assets for rms computed under IFRS and local standards.
determinants and consequences of voluntary IFRS adoption. For Some research assess the effects of IFRS on qualitative character-
example, Hope, Jin, and Kang (2006) study what institutional factors istics of nancial reporting. For example, Beuselinck, Joos, and Van der
inuence countries' decisions to voluntarily adopt IFRS. They nd that Meulen (2007) investigate the comparability of accounting earnings
countries with weaker investor protection mechanisms and jurisdic- for 14 EU countries in the period 19902005. They show that accrual
tions that are perceived to provide better access to their domestic measurement is affected by the business cycle stage and rm specic
capital markets are more likely to adopt IFRS. Gassen and Sellhorn reporting incentives which arise from the equity capital market, debt
(2006) analyse the determinants of voluntary IFRS adoption by nancing and labor markets and these are intensied by a country's
publicly traded German rms during the period 19982004; then, institutional framework. Their results also suggest that the mandatory
they document signicant differences in terms of earnings quality and introduction of IFRS in 2005 did not produce the expected
nally analyse information asymmetry differences between IFRS and improvement in earnings comparability across Europe. Horton,
German-GAAP rms. Cuijpers and Buijink (2005) examine the Serafeim, and Serafeim (2008) examine the effects of mandatory
determinants and consequences of voluntary adoption of non-local IFRS reporting on rms' information environment in sixteen European
GAAP by rms listed in the EU. They nd that these rms are more countries considering how IFRS adoption affects analyst forecast
likely to be listed on a US exchange, have more geographically accuracy. They nd that, during the mandatory transition period to
dispersed operations, they are domiciled in a country with lower IFRS, the largest improvement in the information environment
quality nancial reporting and where IAS is explicitly allowed as an happens for rms that had already voluntarily adopted IFRS earlier
alternative to local GAAP. They also study whether non-local GAAP and non-nancial rms mandatorily adopting IFRS. Christensen, Lee,
adopters have lower levels of information asymmetry, examining and Walker (2007) evaluate the impact of incentives on accounting
analyst following, cost of equity capital, and uncertainty among quality changes around IFRS adoption examining earnings manage-
analysts and investors. ment and timely loss recognition. While existing literature documents
306 S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313

account quality improvements following IFRS adoption, they nd that IFRS 1 First-time adoption of IFRS requires the rst set of IFRS-
improvements are conned to rms with incentives to adopt. based accounts to include comparative gures for the balance sheet,
Finally, the most important issue in current research is to assess income statement, cash ow statement and notes based on IFRS. Thus,
economic consequences of mandatory IFRS adoption. Current re- nancial statements in 2005 include comparative gures of 2004
search study effects on, for example, capital markets, as Armstrong, which have been elaborated under international standards. So, the
Barth, Jagonlizer, and Riedl (2007) and Daske et al. (2008) and effects study is based on 2004 balance sheet and income statement gures
on analysts' forecasts, such as Byard, Li, and Yu (2008) and Bae, Tan, prepared under local and international standards. The former are
and Welker (2008). extracted from the 2004 Annual Report and the latter from the
Armstrong et al. (2007) examine the European stock market reaction comparative gures reported in 2005.
to sixteen events associated with the adoption of IFRS in Europe These data have been hand-collected from the annual report
analysing whether investors expect net benets or net costs from IFRS published in the corporate websites of each company listed in each
adoption. Their ndings suggest that European equity investors expect stock index, IGBM and FTSE 100. Courtenay and Keller (1994) and
net benets from IFRS adoption associated with convergence and Garca Lara, Garca Osma, and Gill de Albornoz (2006) show that the
increased information quality, although the net benets are smaller in results of empirical research may change signicantly depending on
countries where enforcement of IFRS might be less rigorous. the database chosen due to differences in data contained in them.
Daske et al. (2008) assess the economic consequences of mandatory Moreover, it is difcult to nd databases providing both sets of
IFRS reporting in 26 countries. They analyse the effects on market accounts (IFRS and Local GAAP). These reasons are why we prefer
liquidity, cost of capital and Tobin's q and nd that market liquidity working with our own hand-collected dataset.
increases around the time of the introduction of IFRS, rms' cost of
capital decrease and equity valuation increase. Nevertheless, the 3.2. Denition of variables
capital-market benets occur in countries where rms have incentives
to be transparent and where legal enforcement is strong and they are The analysis of the impact of IFRS implementation refers to
most pronounced for rms that voluntarily switch to IFRS. accounting gures contained in the balance sheet and the income
Byard et al. (2008) examine the change in the errors in analysts' statement, as well as key nancial ratios, as follows:
earnings forecasts for EU publicly-traded companies following
Balance sheet (xed assets, current assets, total assets, equity, long-
mandatory adoption of IFRS. Using a constant analyst-rm sample
term liabilities and short-term liabilities);
they document that this mandatory adoption resulted in a decrease in
Income statement (operating income and net income);
analysts' absolute forecast errors that is greater for rms domiciled in
Financial ratios (current ratio, solvency, indebtedness, return on
countries whose domestic GAAP is relatively more different from IFRS
assets per operating income and return on equity per net income).
and rms domiciled in countries with better law enforcement.
Bae et al. (2008) investigate the relation between differences in Table 1 provides the denition of gures and indicators used in the
accounting standards across countries and foreign analyst following study.
and forecast accuracy. They develop two measures of differences in In total, 13 variables are measured based on the local standards
generally accepted accounting principles and examine their impact on and IFRS. Descriptive statistics are included in Table 2.
foreign analysts. They nd that the extent to which GAAP differs
between two countries is negatively related to both foreign analyst 3.3. Hypotheses and methodology
following and forecast accuracy. So, their results suggest that GAAP
differences are associated with economic costs for nancial analysts. The rst objective of our study is to analyse the impact of IFRS on
nancial reports issued by companies in Spain and the United
Kingdom. We test for the existence of signicant differences in the
3. Research design values resulting from the application of local or international
standards for each variable in each country.
3.1. Selection of the sample
Table 1
The sample consists of listed groups traded on the Madrid Stock Accounting gures and nancial ratios.
Exchange General Index (IGBM) and the Financial Times Stock Denition
Exchange Index 100 (FTSE 100). The Madrid Stock Exchange General
Accounting gures
Index (IGBM) is a capitalization-weighted index that measures the Fixed assets Intangible assets + Property, plant and equipment +
performance of a selected number of Continuous Market stocks; it is Long-term investments + Goodwill
the principal index for the Madrid Stock Exchange. The Financial Current assets Inventories + Debtors + Cash
Times Stock Exchange Index 100 (FTSE 100) is a share index of the 100 Total assets Fixed assets + Current assets (as dened above)
Equity Funds contributed by shareholders + Retained earnings +
most highly capitalized UK companies listed on the London Stock
Other reserves + Net income + Minority interest +
Exchange. This study concentrates in these countries because their Deferred income
accounting systems have been considered quite different, as we have Long-term Long-term creditors + Long-term provisions
explained in a previous section. liabilities
Firms providing nancial services such as nancial institutions, Short-term Short-term creditors + Short-term provisions
holding companies and insurance rms have been excluded, due to
OPI (Operating Operating income Operating expenses
the specialized nancial statements prevalent in these sectors. So, the income)
nal sample consists of 74 rms listed on FTSE 100 and 100 rms NETI OPI (as dened above) + Financial income Financial expenses +
listed on IGBM. (Net income) Extraordinary income Extraordinary expenses Taxes
To evaluate the impact of IFRS on accounting gures we need
Financial ratios
comparable data; so, we have focused our study on scal year 2004. Current ratio Current assets/Short-term liabilities
Firms' nancial information is only available under both the Solvency Total assets/Total liabilities
prevailing local standards and the IFRS accepted by the EU for this Indebtedness Total liabilities/Equity
year, 2004. Therefore, we use nancial information that is perfectly ROA (OPI) Operating income/Total assets
ROE (NETI) Net income/Equity
comparable for each company.
S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313 307

Table 2
Descriptive statistics for variables under local standards and IFRS standards.

Variable Spanish Firms UK Firms

Min Max Mean Std Dev Min Max Mean Std Dev

Under Local Standards

Fixed assets 1.4788 131,114.2370 5427.3091 17,225.0041 201.262 173,196.227 11,370.665 22,579.443
Current assets 7.8220 488,598.9340 8797.7677 50,539.8531 198.284 46,896.704 4335.552 6352.100
Total assets 35.2155 619,713.1710 14,225.0768 66,073.7812 867.416 189,924.119 15,706.216 26,957.661
Equity 8.0080 153,449.3810 4354.9270 18,175.2020 198.567 144,862.066 6897.559 17,754.691
LT liabilities 0.6490 88,148.6527 3208.6669 11,766.0268 29.040 35,668.453 4729.389 5970.013
ST liabilities 2.9499 395,908.3420 6661.4829 40,440.9007 115.816 47,371.706 4079.269 6465.153
Operating income 51.6230 41,689.0000 1172.1386 5041.1359 5830.7921 18,531.679 1290.696 2637.802
Net income 156.2340 14,056.1230 613.7845 2339.8915 10,694.2770 11,717.935 721.739 2138.073
Current ratio 0.3267 7.9175 1.5388 1.0905 0.377 4.232 1.2829 0.668
Solvency 0.9279 4.6697 1.8411 0.7281 1.023 9.655 1.283 1.076
Indebtedness 13.8767 12.8474 2.0097 2.4320 0.116 43.700 2.598 5.328
ROA (OPI) 0.0454 1.0953 0.0988 0.1628 0.031 0.373 0.100 0.078
ROE (NETI) 0.3900 1.6077 0.1312 0.2014 0.098 4.114 0.251 0.522

Under IFRS standards

Fixed assets 4.7660 173,537.7830 6104.5684 20,722.4068 329.906 195,427.2747 12,020.637 24,953.718
Current assets 7.4890 484,387.1100 8725.0506 50,108.7667 197.433 45,109.0228 4066.736 6200.925
Total assets 35.5570 657,924.8930 14,829.6190 69,755.1593 778.543 208,775.2642 16,087.373 28,812.759
Equity 9.1170 177,934.6310 4656.6857 20,360.8890 350.330 161,191.4049 6766.176 19,534.385
LT Liabilities 0.6770 87,520.7739 3490.4062 12,731.3059 31,890 39,107.9950 5488.075 6439.415
ST liabilities 4.5460 395,736.7270 6682.5271 40,421.9099 115.254 46,344.6149 3833.122 6304.231
Operating income 25.6600 21,010.9940 874.4911 3110.9931 214.169 18,901.6959 1602.519 2781.264
Net income 152.8250 34,514.0000 956.9299 4124.7110 267.641 12,673.0783 1148.085 2002.511
Current ratio 0.4119 5.2456 1.4023 0.6990 0.125 12.2276 1.411 1.467
Solvency 0.9244 4.8042 1.7928 0.6876 0.952 9.8055 1.826 1.086
Indebtedness 13.2307 55.9812 2.5907 5.9115 20.830 288.8211 5.777 33.517
ROA (OPI) 0.0885 0.3689 0.0736 0.0660 0.013 0.376 0.106 0.073
ROE (NETI) 0.9088 129.2353 1.4224 12.9116 2.057 19.253 0.484 2.262

H01. There are no signicant differences in the value of accounting Following that, we test the next hypothesis:
gures and nancial ratios determined under local GAAP and IFRS.
H02. There are no signicant differences in the relative impact of IFRS
In this way, it is possible to identify what has been the quantitative on the value of accounting gures and nancial ratios in the United
impact of the application of IFRS on key gures and nancial ratios in Kingdom and Spain.
companies that are listed in London Stock Exchange and Madrid Stock
After verifying that the series of relative impact do not fulll
Exchange. For this purpose, we compare variables for the same rms
normality conditions, we go on to apply the MannWhitney U test
in the same period, but under different conditions. This means we
grouping by country.
work with related samples, to which we apply non-parametric
Apart from comparing the impact of the rst application of IFRS in
Wilcoxon signed-rank test, after checking that no variable follows a
accounting gures and nancial ratios, the study analyses what have
normal distribution.5
been the effects produced by this rst adoption of IFRS on the
Then, we make a comparative analysis of the impact of IFRS in
relevance of nancial reporting, assessing the impact of IFRS on the
Spain and the United Kingdom to study in which country it has been
difference between the book and market value of rms. We rst
higher. For that, we use the relative impact on accounting numbers
evaluate for each country if the book value differs signicantly from
due to the application of international standards. It is calculated as the
the market value using both standards, local GAAP and IFRS. To do that
percentage change in the value of accounting gures and nancial
we apply non-parametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test, after checking
ratios following the implementation of the new standards using the
whether any variable follows a normal distribution.
following formula:
Based on these results we test the next hypothesis by country:
IFRS ValueLocal GAAP Value
Relative Impact = 1 H03. There are no signicant differences in the book values (per local
Local GAAP Value GAAP and IFRS) and market value of rms.
Book value is measured by total equity under local standards or
Relative Impact = difference between IFRS values and Local GAAP IFRS and market value is measured as the gure of market
values for selected balance sheet items, income statement items, and capitalization obtained from Thomson Financial database.
We then analyse the gap between book and market value to
nancial ratios as a percentage of Local GAAP values
establish whether it differs depending on the measurement of the
IFRS Value = value for selected balance sheet items, income
book value under local or international standards. To this end, we use
statement items, and nancial ratios under IFRS standards
the following equations to determine the absolute values for
Local GAAP Value = value for selected balance sheet items, income differences between book value per local GAAP (Bookspainlocal and
statement items, and nancial ratios under IFRS standards under local Bookuklocal) and IFRS (Bookspainifrs and Bookukifrs) and market value
GAAP standards. (Marketspain and Marketuk):

gapspainlocal = Bookspainlocal Marketspain 2

We use the KolmogorovSmirnov (with Liliierfors signicance correction) and
ShapiroWilks tests to check the normality hypothesis for the different variables. gapspainifrs = Bookspainifrs Marketspain 3
308 S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313

Table 3 Table 5
Sub-samples according to rm size. Sub-samples according to sectors of operation.

Quartile Spanish rms UK rms Sector of Operation (SIC Code) Spain UK

Firms Total assets Firms Total assets Industrial

(thousands ) (thousands ) Mining 2 9
Construction 10 2
First quartile 25 230.378 19 5079.710
Manufacturing 35 22
Second quartile 25 818.155 18 9103.538
Total 47 33
Third quartile 25 3452.007 18 16,071.803
Commercial, services
Fourth quartile 25 N 3452.007 19 N16,071.803
Transportation, communications, electric, gas and sanitary services 18 15
Wholesale trade 5 1
Retail trade 2 10
Finance, insurance and real estate 13 10
gapuklocal = Bookuklocal Marketuk 4 Services 15 5
Public administration 0 0

gapukifrs = Bookukifrs Marketuk

Total 53 41

We test the following hypothesis by applying the Wilcoxon In Spain, this hypothesis is rejected for eight variables at a
signed-rank test given that the variables are not normal: maximum error level of 10%. Specically, ve balance sheet items and
three nancial ratios display signicant differences depending on
H04. There are no signicant differences in the gapspainlocal (gap- whether Spanish or international standards are applied. Balance sheet
uklocal) and gapspainifrs (gapukifrs). items showing signicant differences are xed assets, current assets,
total assets (at 1%), long-term liabilities (at 5%) and short-term
3.4. Sensitivity analysis liabilities (at 10%). Figures contained in the income statement are not
signicantly different applying either local or international standards.
After having obtained some results concerning the effects in Among the nancial ratios, signicant differences are observed in the
accounting numbers due to the mandatory application of IFRS in the current ratio, solvency (at 1%) and indebtedness (at 5%), but return
United Kingdom and Spain, we evaluate whether those results might ratios are not affected by this change in accounting standards in Spain.
be related to some corporate characteristics of these rms, such as Based on the number of positive and negative ranks, as well as the
rm size, international activity and sector of operations. To do that, we sum of ranks of each sign provided by the Wilcoxon test, we may
build different sub-samples for each of the three variables and then determine the sign of the variations experienced by variables
we apply the same analysis to each one of them. We want to observe if analysed. Particularly, if we focus on the variables generating
these results are consistent with global results and whether we can signicant variations as a result of the change from Spanish to
establish some behaviour pattern explaining changes in accounting international standards, we conclude that the nancial statements of
numbers after application of IFRS. Spanish rms adopting IFRS show the following:
Firm size is measured by total assets and each sub-sample is
composed of the rms assigned to each quartile based on the size of Increases in xed and total assets, long-term liabilities, short-term
the rm (see Table 3). liabilities and indebtedness.
As a proxy of internationality, we use the proportion of foreign sales Decreases in current assets, current ratio and solvency.
to total sales (both data obtained from Thomson Financial database), In summary, IFRS application for Spanish rst-time adopters
and each sub-sample is composed of the rms assigned to each quartile causes a higher value on assets and liabilities and a worse nancial
based on the international activity of the rm (see Table 4). position referred to liquidity, solvency and indebtedness.
Sector classication is based on SIC code classication and As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, the hypothesis proposed is
companies are grouped in two sub-samples: industrial companies rejected for eleven of the variables analysed, at a maximum error level of
and commercial and services companies (see Table 5). 10%. Results conrm that all balance sheet items are statistically different

4. Results
Table 6
Results of Wilcoxon signed-rank test for H01.
4.1. Differences in nancial reporting under Local GAAP and IFRS
Spanish rms UK rms

As we have explained previously, our rst aim is to compare what Z-statistic Z-statistic
has been the effect of mandatory IFRS adoption in accounting numbers Accounting gures
issued by rst-time adopters in the United Kingdom and Spain. Results Fixed assets 4.6142 5.6431
obtained related to this issue are explained in this section. Current assets 3.470 5.3739
Total assets 2.7398 4.4943
H01 is tested for Spain and for the United Kingdom using the
Equity 1.1518 2.4727
Wilcoxon signed-ranks test. The results are presented in Table 6. LT liabilities 2.5165 5.9125
ST liabilities 1.8081 3.9246
Operating income 1.1762 2.6306
Table 4 Net income 1.5506 4.1886
Sub-samples according to international activity.
Financial ratios
Quartile Spanish rms UK rms Current ratio 3.2457 0.5468
Solvency 2.8263 4.3394
Firms Foreign sales Firm Foreign sales
Indebtedness 2.3827 4.3286
to total sales to total sales
ROA (OPI) 1.0280 1.3549
First quartile 25 0.00% 19 0.90% ROE (NETI) 0.7014 4.3448
Second quartile 25 10.30% 18 48.00%
Signicant at 1%, level.
Third quartile 25 36.50% 18 81.20%
Signicant at 5% level.
Fourth quartile 25 100.00% 19 100.00%
Signicant at 10% level.
S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313 309

Table 7 short-term liabilities; on operating and net income and on nancial

Results of Mann-Whitney U Test for H02. ratios measuring solvency, indebtedness, return on assets and return
Z-statistic on equity. Only three variables (total assets, equity and current ratio)
do not display signicant differences in the relative impact caused by
Accounting gures
Fixed assets 2.1765 the rst application of IFRS in Spanish rms and UK rms.
Current assets 3.8553 Based on mean rank provided by the MannWhitney test our
Total assets 1.5570 results determine that the relative impact has been higher in the
Equity 1.1994
United Kingdom for six variables: xed assets, long-term liabilities,
LT liabilities 3.3728
ST liabilities 6.0274 operating and net income, and return on assets and equity. In contrast,
Operating income 2.2694 the relative impact on current assets, short-term liabilities, solvency
Net income 3.9482 and indebtedness has been higher in Spain.
On the basis of the results obtained for Spain and the United
Financial ratios
Kingdom testing H01 and H02 it is possible to afrm that the effects of
Current ratio 1.4033
Solvency 2.4627 IFRS on nancial reporting have been more relevant for rst-time
Indebtedness 2.2770 adopters listed in the United Kingdom than those listed in Spain. A
ROA (OPI) 1.7990 greater number of variables reect signicant differences under local
ROE (NETI) 3.8234
GAAP and IFRS (in Spain, income items and return ratios are not
Signicant at 1%, level. statistically different) and the relative impact of IFRS in accounting
Signicant at 5% level.
gures and ratios has been higher in the United Kingdom in most of
Signicant at 10% level.
the variables analysed.
Although these results are surprising because UK GAAP have
applying local GAAP or IFRS at the 1% level, except equity, which also always been considered closer to IFRS than Spanish GAAP, we can nd
displays signicant differences, but at 5%. Differences in income in previous literature some explanations for them. On the one hand,
statement gures are signicant for operating income and net income, our ndings might reveal that the accounting standards of the United
both at 1%. Finally, among nancial ratios, solvency, indebtedness and Kingdom are not so close to IFRS as it has been considered over time.
return on equity also show signicant differences at the error level of 1%. In this sense, Lewis and Salter (2006), as well as Alexander and Archer
In accordance with previous results and based on ranks provided (2000) and D'Arcy (2001), nd a European accounting model that
by Wilcoxon test, we may conclude that the nancial statements of clearly includes the United Kingdom and a US-inuenced model
the United Kingdom rms adopting IFRS reect the following: including companies reporting under IFRS.
Increases in xed and total assets, long-term liabilities, short-term On the other hand, Spain displays lower degree of enforcement
liabilities, operating income, net income, indebtedness and return on than the UK and, according to Daske et al. (2008), we may expect rst
equity. application of IFRS to have smaller impact in countries with weak
Decreases in current assets, equity, and solvency. enforcement. So, differences in the impact of IFRS on Spanish rms
and UK rms may also be due to the way on which rms have applied
To sum up, rms in the United Kingdom reect, after IFRS IFRS at the rst time, because IFRS 1 First-time adoption of IFRS
application, higher value on assets and liabilities, lower equity and contains numerous exceptions which have been applied by rms in a
higher income. As a consequence their nancial statements display different way. In this sense, it will be interesting to investigate about
worse nancial position, referred to solvency and indebtedness, but the reasons for these results in the future.
better protability.
H02 is tested using MannWhitney U test. The results obtained (see
Table 7) reject this hypothesis for ten variables at a maximum error 4.2. Sensitivity analysis for differences in accounting numbers
level of 10%.
The relative impact of IFRS has been statistically different in Spain Apart from the results obtained from the total sample, we assess if
and the United Kingdom on xed assets, current assets, long-term and they are consistent with the results found in sub-samples. For that, the

Table 8
Results of Wilcoxon signed-rank test for rm size (Z-statistic).

Firm size Spanish rms UK rms

Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4 Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4

Accounting gures
Fixed assets 1.3050 3.0808 2.9463 1.5471 3.1791 3.5058 2.9832 1.8914
Current assets 0.9429 1.4599 2.9194 1.1435 1.6097 3.0060 2.1557 3.5816
Total assets 1.4000 2.5965 1.6279 0.6861 2.2133 2.5477 2.6783 1.5025
Equity 0.6054 0.7130 1.5202 0.6861 1.2073 2.1557 2.6133 0.7244
LT liabilities 1.6571 1.7893 0.9552 1.3050 2.9377 3.7236 3.7236 1.7707
ST liabilities 1..1254 0.8286 0.9714 0.9429 1.4890 2.5912 2.4170 1.6097
Operating income 0.4000 0.0404 0.2287 1.5471 2.3343 1.1976 0.6533 1.1541
Net income 1.3857 1.0628 0.9283 1.1974 2.6560 2.5041 2.1993 1.9316

Financial ratios
Current ratio 1.0897 1.8700 2.5965 0.7399 0.3219 1.6767 0.0653 2.3340
Solvency 2.0853 0.8207 1.6548 0.9552 0.1610 3.3316 3.2445 1.5292
Indebtedness 1.8866 0.4978 2.0315 0.7668 0.9658 2.1993 3.4623 1.3682
ROA (OPI) 0.3363 0.3363 0.8745 0.5516 1.3280 0.7186 0.2831 0.8451
ROE (NETI) 0.1211 0.1480 1.0359 0.6861 2.6962 1.5025 3.1574 1.8511
Signicant at 1%, level.
Signicant at 5% level.
Signicant at 10% level.
310 S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313

Table 9
Results of Wilcoxon Signed-rank test for international activity (Z-statistic).

International Spanish rms UK rms

Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4 Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4

Accounting gures
Fixed assets 2.3146 1.6547 2.4303 1.9132 3.3611 2.3286 2.7830 1.3631
Current assets 2.2938 1.8743 1.8615 0.6722 1.4996 3.4078 2.1015 2.4990
Total assets 0.1207 1.1376 0.9825 2.4303 2.6371 1.9311 2.6694 0.9087
Equity 0.2987 0.4654 1.7064 1.0342 2.8440 0.7384 0.3408 0.6816
LT liabilities 0.3733 0.9308 2.3269 0.6722 3.4645 1.8743 3.4078 1.7607
ST liabilities 0.0747 0.5688 0.2068 1.1359 3.1542 0.6248 2.0447 2.4990
Operating income 0.1493 1.7581 1.2927 1.1376 1.5513 1.7607 0.8237 0.4080
Net income 1.3857 1.0628 0.9283 1.1974 1.6030 2.6694 1.6471 1.0791

Financial ratios
Current ratio 1.6053 1.3961 1.1376 0.5688 1.1376 0.3976 0.0000 0.1704
Solvency 0.6347 0.9308 2.4303 1.0859 3.4128 1.4767 1.8175 1.0223
Indebtedness 0.7467 1.1893 2.1718 0.0517 3.4645 1.0223 1.9311 1.0223
ROA (OPI) 0.1120 2.1201 1.9132 1.5513 0.1034 1.6471 0.2272 0.5112
ROE (NETI) 0.2613 0.7239 0.6722 0.4137 2.4303 2.5558 1.0223 1.4199
Signicant at 1%, level.
Signicant at 5% level.
Signicant at 10% level.

hypothesis H01 is tested using Wilcoxon signed-ranks test for the sub- items and return ratios are not affected by the change in accounting
samples obtained according to the rm size, to the rm activities standards in Spain irrespective of the rm size.
(industrial or commercial and services) and based on the proportion In the United Kingdom, six variables reect signicant differences
of foreign sales with respect to total sales. in the smallest rms (xed and total assets, long-term liabilities,
operating and net income and return on equity), another six in the
biggest rms (xed and current assets, long-term liabilities, net
4.2.1. Firm size income, current ratio and return on equity); and some variables show
Table 8 presents Wilcoxon results for each sub-sample where it is signicant differences irrespective of rm size, such as xed assets,
possible to observe that the smallest and biggest rms are the least long-term liabilities or net income.
affected by the application of IFRS both in the UK and in Spain. These
results may be due to, on the one hand, economic operations of small 4.2.2. International activity
rms, which are less complicated and perhaps less affected by the Our ndings reveal that the effect of IFRS on accounting gures and
change; and on the other hand, the biggest rms could have been ratios is less signicant in rms with higher proportion of foreign sales
applying accounting policies closer to IFRS before the mandatory change. with respect to total sales (see Table 9). In these rms (fourth
In more detail, in Spain, only long-term liabilities, solvency and quartile) we nd signicant differences in the value taken under local
indebtedness ratios show signicant differences due to the change in GAAP and IFRS only in two and three variables in Spain and in the UK,
accounting standards in rms in the rst quartile, while no signicant respectively. The explanation of this result may be because the more
differences are displayed by accounting gures and ratios in the international and the bigger a rm is, the closer the accounting
biggest rms (in the fourth quartile). We also observe that income policies could have been to IFRS before the mandatory change.

Table 10
Results of Wilcoxon signed-rank test for sector of operation.

Sector of operation Spanish rms UK rms

Industrial Commercial and service Industrial Commercial and service

Z-statistic Z-statistic Z-statistic Z-statistic

Accounting gures Z-statistic Z-statistic Z-statistic Z-statistic

Fixed assets 2.9963 3.7508 4.5642 2.9843
Current assets 1.7703 3.5379 5.0054 2.0445
Total assets 2.0226 2.0088 3.7847 2.3813
Equity 1.6109 0.3276 1.2410 2.8827
LT liabilities 3.4080 0.2821 4.3488 4.1780
ST liabilities 1.5951 0.9210 3.1488 2.2731
Operating income 1.3756 0.0769 1.4604 2.3747
Net income 2.0291 0.1474 3.1898 2.8319

Financial ratios
Current ratio 1.2253 3.5215 0.8615 0.2413
Solvency 2.9963 0.5405 2.5949 4.0764
Indebtedness 2.5192 0.5569 2.4000 4.2542
ROA (OPI) 1.1665 0.0819 0.5333 1.4604
ROE (NETI) 2.3754 1.6707 2.8718 3.5684
Signicant at 1%, level.
Signicant at 5% level.
Signicant at 10% level.
S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313 311

Table 11 which would imply narrowing the gap between a rm's book and
Results of Wilcoxon test comparing book value vs. market value (Z-statistic). market value.
Spanish rms UK rms We began by testing whether the market value of Spanish and UK
rms differs signicantly from the book value under local standards
MV vs. Blocalgaap 7.064* 6.123*
MV vs. Bifrs 6.856* 6.459* and IFRS[H03].
|Bifrs MV| vs. |Blocalgaap MV| 3.030* 1.607 Results in Table 11 conrm that the market value of rms is
*Signicant at 1%, level. **Signicant at 5% level. ***Signicant at 10% level. statistically different from the book value when the latter is calculated
with both local standards and IFRS.
Additionally, when we analyse ranks provided by the Wilcoxon
In Spain, eight variables behaved in a different way depending on test, it is observed that in both Spain and the UK the market value is
the foreign sales, while in the United Kingdom only three variables signicantly higher than the book value.
behaved in the same way irrespective of foreign sale proportion Having established that the book value differs from the market
(long-term liabilities, current ratio and return on assets). value in a signicant way in both countries using either of the two
standards, we focus on assessing whether the gap between account-
ing and market values is signicantly different when accounting
4.2.3. Sector of operation
values are measured in local GAAP with regard to those are obtained
The differentiation between industrial and commercial or services
applying IFRS[H04].
activity is not relevant to the impact of IFRS on the nancial reporting
As shown in Table 12, signicant differences exist in the Spanish
in the United Kingdom (see Table 10). The commercial and service
case and the ranks obtained suggest that the difference between
sub-sample shows signicant differences for the same variables as the
accounting and market values are higher when the former are
total sample, and only two items (equity and operating income)
calculated under international standards. On the other hand, although
differentiate between results in industrial sub-sample and in total
we do not nd signicant differences in the UK, they are close to be
signicant, and the gap is bigger after IFRS application.
In Spain the results are a bit different. Both sub-samples present
In short, our results identify that, after the rst mandatory IFRS
differences with respect to the total sample. Moreover, there are
application, both in Spain and in the United Kingdom there are still
differences between industrial and commercial and service rms. In
important differences between the accounting value in a company
the sub-sample of industrial rms eight variables show signicant
and its market value. It conrms, as it was foreseeable, that accounting
differences under local standards and IFRS, while in the sub-sample of
information, under international standards, still does not capture all
commercial and service activities ve variables do it.
the factors inuencing the market value of rms and its value is
Variables with different behaviour depending on the rm activities
are long-term liabilities, net income, current ratio, solvency and
Although it has been more signicant in Spain, these results also
indebtedness. It may be due to the different nancial structure of the
suggest that the application of international standards has contribut-
rms in each sub-sample and to the different nature of the activities
ed to increase the gap between market and book values in a national
carried out by them. It is possible that the accounting issues of
context. Thus, these results cast doubt on one of the main objectives of
industrial activities have been more affected by the accounting change
the nancial information prepared under the new international
in Spain.
standards, its relevance.

4.3. Impact of IFRS on the relevance of nancial reporting 4.4. Sensitivity analysis for differences in the relevance of
nancial information
Effects produced by the adoption of IFRS on the relevance of
nancial reporting are discussed in this section, in which we In connection with previous results that are referred to the total
examine the impact of IFRS on the difference between the book and sample, we can point out, in general, that they are consistent with
market value of rms. This issue is particularly relevant because one results obtained in sub-samples dened depending on rm size,
of the reasons for the adoption of international standards was to internationality and the sector of operations. The same result is
ensure the generation of useful information for the stock market, obtained in the two countries analysed.

Table 12
Results of Wilcoxon signed-rank test for book value vs. market value (Z-statistic).

Firm size Spanish rms UK rms

Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4 Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4

MV vs. Blocalgaap 3.9539 3.4251 3.9199 3.2846 3.8230 2.4990 3.4645 2.9832
MV vs. Bifrs 3.9844 3.0031 3.8826 3.2846 3.8230 2.6126 3.5162 3.0267
|Bifrs MV| vs. |Blocalgaap MV| 0.5779 0.2110 2.7626 2.3114 1.2073 0.2272 2.8957 1.0234

International activity Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4 Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4

MV vs. Blocalgaap 2.9701 2.5558 3.5162 3.2330 -2.7406 -3.0670 -2.6694 -2.7262
MV vs. Bifrs 2.8304 2.4422 3.5162 3.2330 -2.9474 -3.3510 -2.6126 -3.2374
|Bifrs MV| vs. |Blocalgaap MV| 1.7122 2.2718 1.7064 1.1614 -1.4478 0.0000 -0.5112 -0.8519

Sector of operation Industrial Commercial and services Industrial Commercial and services

MV vs. Blocalgaap 6.4782 3.6192 5.0353 3.3499

MV vs. Bifrs 6.2868 3.5430 5.1681 3.7804
|Bifrs MV| vs. |Blocalgaap MV| 2.5692 1.1048 1.4731 0.7399
Signicant at 1%, level.
Signicant at 5% level.
Signicant at 10% level.
312 S. Callao et al. / Advances in Accounting, incorporating Advances in International Accounting 26 (2010) 304313

As can be observed in Table 12, the existence of signicant These results could suggest that if Spanish rms have displayed
differences between accounting and market values persists irrespec- lower effects in accounting numbers and nancial ratios after the IFRS
tive of the rm size, the foreign activity of the rm and their sector of application is not because the previous standards are closer to IFRS,
activity. These results are the same both in Spain and in the United but due to the way in which Spanish rms have done the transition to
Kingdom, as well as when they apply local or international standards. the international standards. Therefore, it will be interesting to
These results also corroborate that the market value is signicantly investigate about those reasons behind our results in the future
higher than the book value in all cases. checking if these differences could be because, although Spanish
With regard to the effect of the IFRS adoption in the gap between GAAP are more different from IFRS than UK accounting standards, a
accounting value and market value, we can point out that in most of low enforcement in Spain may cause a smaller effect after IFRS
the cases analysed the results obtained are the same as in the total application, as Daske et al. (2008) suggest.
sample. More specically, differences in Spain are as important as in With respect to the effect of IFRS on nancial reporting relevance,
the total sample whereas in the UK they are still not signicant. we may conclude that IFRS have affected negatively to the relevance
If we concentrate on Spain, with regard to the rm size, the biggest of nancial reporting in both countries, although this effect has only
rms (third and fourth quartiles) show a signicant increase in that been signicant in Spain and it is consistent with Hung and
gap after applying IFRS while this increase is not signicant in the Subramanyam (2007) because they demonstrate that the book
smallest ones. Regarding the international activity and the sector of value is not more relevant under IFRS in German companies.
operations, rms with bigger foreign activity have not a signicant Nevertheless, this nding is disturbing because one of the main
impact, as well as those companies operating in commercial and reasons for the adoption of international standards was to ensure the
service activities. generation of useful information for the stock market, which would
In the United Kingdom, we only observe signicant effects in the imply narrowing the gap between a rm's book and market value.
gap between accounting value and market value after IFRS application This objective was not reached in the rst year of IFRS application and
in size variable and, more specically, in rms situated in the third it would be interesting to search the evolution of the gap between
quartile. In other sub-samples, we cannot consider that the results market value and book value during some years after the rst
obtained are different from the total sample. application.
Our results should be of interest to the institutions involved in
implementing the changes necessary to harmonise European and
5. Conclusions international accounting and may help Spanish and English
standard setters to improve the reforming of local standards in
First, the paper analyses the quantitative impact of the rst order to ensure convergence between them and IFRS for all
application of IFRS on the accounting gures and nancial ratios of companies. Users also should benet from the ndings because
rms listed in Spain and the United Kingdom. Then, we study the they highlight the absence of any improvement in relevance after
effect of IFRS on the relevance of nancial reporting in both countries. the adoption of IFRS.
We expected the quantitative impact of IFRS to be signicant due
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