Lobbying on accounting issues
Preparer/user imbalance in the case of
the Operating and Financial Review
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
E.S. Davie and W. Collins
University of Stirling, Stirling, UK
Lobbying on accounting issues has been defined as a collective term for the
actions taken by interested parties to influence the rule-making body (Sutton,
1984). Written submissions are only one aspect of the variety of actions
encompassed within lobbying, but are the main source available to the
researcher. It has been observed that in such written submissions there is a
general absence of responses by users of financial statements or their
representatives (Sutton, 1984; Tutticci et al., 1994).
There are two questions which may be addressed in relation to the lack of
user participation in the written responses. The first is to ask why it occurs and
the second is to ask what the potential consequences may be when the standard-
setting body receives responses which are biased towards one particular group.
The first question has been addressed in previous literature in terms of
various theoretical models in which lobbying is seen as an action justified by
political and social factors but with different consequences for different
lobbying groups. Relevant models are reviewed in the first part of this paper.
The second question is addressed by using as a vehicle for empirical analysis
the lobbying submissions received by the UK Accounting Standards Board
(ASB) in relation to the Operating and Financial Review (OFR), a document of
some interest as the first non-mandatory statement issued by the ASB (1992).
The empirical investigation follows the analytical methods used by Tutticci et
al. (1994), exploring the relative intensity of responses on specific issues and
linking the nature of the response to the attitude of the respondent. This paper
examines the distribution of responses on four main issues relating to the OFR
Accounting, Auditing &
Accountability Journal, Vol. 9
No. 1, 1996, pp. 59-76. © MCB
University Press, 0951-3574
The authors thank particularly two anonymous referees for helpful constructive criticism. They
are appreciative also of comments from participants at the ICAEW Financial Accounting and
Auditing Research Conference (July 1994), the British Accounting Association Scottish
Conference (September 1994) and research workshops at Dundee University and Heriot-Watt
Financial support from the Research Committee of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Scotland is gratefully acknowledged.