Comparability in International Accounting Standards

comparability in accounting

The Standards have been developed to be used in conjunction with any accounting requirements. They are also built on the concepts that underpin the IFRS Accounting Standards, which are required by more than 140 jurisdictions. The ISSB Standards are suitable for application around the world, creating a truly global baseline.

comparability in accounting

International Accounting Standards and International Financial Reporting Standards are the accounting standards that are universally accepted with adjustments according to the specific regulations of different countries. Some countries implement these standards as they are with little to nil modifications. Comparability is the degree to which accounting standards and policies are consistently applied from one period to another. Financial statements that are comparable, with consistent accounting standards and policies applied throughout each accounting period, enable users to draw insightful conclusions about the trends and performance of the company over time.

Disclosure and the cost of capital: a survey of the theoretical literature

In addition, comparability also refers to the ability to easily compare a company’s financial statements with those of other companies. Accounting comparability is one of the enhancing characteristics of financial reporting in the United States and around the world. We encourage CFOs and chief accounting officers to review their firms’ accounting policies and align them more closely with their industry norms. However, changes to accounting policy should only be made where required by a change in law or accounting standard or where a change results in a more relevant and reliable information to the users. Second, this paper is related to the study of the monitoring role of capital markets in addressing agency issues (e.g., Holmstrom and Tirole, 1993; Dye and Sridhar, 2004, 2007). Efficient pricing by the market serves as a disciplinary mechanism for those with control rights.

Confirmatory value means that the information provides feedback on previous evaluations (ie it allows users to confirm or change their opinion on such evaluations). For example, the same current year revenue information indicated above could be compared with revenue predictions which had been made in prior years to correct or improve processes that were used to make those previous predictions. Many firms raise additional equity financing via follow-on offerings, which often garner skepticism from investors. But, when investors place greater value on earnings as a result of high accounting comparability, firms can raise equity financing at more favorable terms and thereby leave less money on the table.


Thus, higher comparability may allow managers to be more knowledgeable of the firm’s competitors, industry trends, and economic conditions, as well as their impact on the firm. This enhanced knowledge facilitates managers’ abilities to evaluate firm performance and predict future events. This should assist managers in incorporating information into reliable forward-looking estimates with which to report higher quality accruals (e.g., Libby & Luft, 1993) and signal future performance. In turn, we expect greater comparability to positively influence the quality of managers’ financial reporting. This study also contributes to the literature examining the determinants of financial reporting quality.

  • For example, assume you sell t-shirts in your store and value them in the inventory based on the FIFO method.
  • A Feature

    Paper should be a substantial original Article that involves several techniques or approaches, provides an outlook for

    future research directions and describes possible research applications.

  • For opaque firms, which consistently report a high level of “discretionary” accruals, accounting comparability enhances the value relevance of earnings to a smaller extent.
  • At the last date, cash flows are realized, and investors consume the cash flows generated by the firms.
  • The less timely (thus resulting in older information), the less useful information is for decision-making.

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has today issued its inaugural standards—IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 —ushering in a new era of sustainability-related disclosures in capital markets worldwide. The Standards will help to improve trust and confidence in company disclosures about sustainability to inform investment decisions. Being ‘free from error’ does not mean that the information needs to be perfectly accurate. Rather, that there are no errors or omissions in the depiction of any phenomena and that the processes used to produce the reported information have been selected and applied with no errors in the process. For example, in some circumstances an estimate could be used in determining financial information.

What is Comparability?

Financial reports are intended for use by users with a reasonable knowledge and the Conceptual Framework accepts that even knowledgeable users may need to seek advice to aid their understanding of more complex issues. Therefore, accounting information is relevant if it can provide helpful information about past events and help in predicting future events or in taking action to deal with possible future events. For example, a company experiencing a strong quarter and presenting these improved results to creditors is relevant to the creditors’ decision-making process to extend or enlarge credit available to the company.

Their inference about the cash flows given their conjectures of the entrepreneurs’ efforts can be decomposed into two tasks. In the first task, the investors infer each firm’s idiosyncratic cash flow shock by comparing its report with the other reports. In the second task, the investors learn from all reports to infer the cash flow shock common to all firms. Section 2 develops the model and discusses the measure of comparability in more details.