It has been suggested recently that the accounting systems used in developing countries may be irrelevant to their needs because they originate in Western countries with different cultural values. The accounting literature on this point, however, is vague in its assessment of exactly what aspects of Western accounting systems fail to meet the test of relevance. Furthermore, it is not clear whether the differences between the needs of users in various countries are differences in kind or only differences in degree. This article analyses these issues by introducing technical considerations in addition to the behavioural ones usually discussed and by separating out problems of accounting measurement from problems of accounting disclosure. This distinction is used to argue that it is the specific disclosure rules of particular calculations inherent in Western accounting systems rather than the transaction cost database that are most likely to fail to satisfy the needs of users in developing countries. The effect of the importation of the French Unified Accounting System to Lebanon is examined and an amended version of the Hofstede‐Gray cultural accounting framework is used to clarify the concept of cultural relevance.
Abacus – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1995
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