IMPACT OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REPORTING STANDARDS ON EARNINGS MANAGEMENT (A CASE STUDY OF LISTED OIL AND GAS COMPANY)
1.1 Background of the Study
International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) is the blueprint, pivot and cornerstone for the preparation and presentation of financial statements for corporate entities to ensure standardization, globalization and credibility of financial reports across international borders. Financial statements are vital in showing the financial status and performance of corporate entities. Statements of Accounting Standards (SAS) were hitherto used as guide in the preparation and presentation of financial statements in Nigeria prior to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in 2012. Thus IFRS represents a benchmark for the preparation and presentation of financial statements for business entities in Nigeria post 2011.
IFRS which are issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) ensures standardisation and globalization of financial statements by corporate bodies. Osisioma (2012) surmises that accounting profession was terribly rocked by a series of professional misadventures that tore at the heart of the discipline with financial scandal in Enron,
Worlddown, Global Crossing, Xerox, Deutsche, Telekon, Qwest, Waste management, Viuendi, Centrica, Royal Dutch/Shell and Tyco all through the United States, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean while in Nigeria we had African petroleum, Cadbury among others. Nobes (2011) affirms that international differences in financial reporting create problems because many users assess companies on a comparative basis internationally. Reconciliation from one set of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to another (especially to US GAAP) were common until 2007, and they revealed significant difference between countries. A standard reporting system for listed companies would address these problems. There would be disadvantage if the whole world had to adopt US GAAP. Therefore, IFRS have been developed instead. Chukwu & Okoye (2016) affirm that the IFRS, issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), is increasingly becoming the preferred accounting regime among companies in African countries. Zeff (2007) in Odia (2015) surmises that the accelerated trend of globalization, internationalization of capital market, increasing cross boarder listing and the need for comparability of financial reports accelerated the elimination of international diversity in accounting standards and promoted the quest for single accounting standards. Fowokan
(2012) highlights that IFRS will bring about the convergence of national accounting standards. Herbert, Loraver, Tsegba, Ohanele&Anyahara (2013) assert that the fast pace of globalization with integration of national financial markets has stimulated the need for a common financial language, otherwise called IFRS because good financial reporting makes investment and financial decisions more efficient. Armstrong, Mary, Alan & Edward (2010) highlight that the increasing growth in international trade, cross border financial transactions and investments which unavoidably involve the preparation and presentation of accounting reports that are useful across various borders have brought about the adoption of IFRS by both the developed and developing countries. Also Okpala (2012) posits that IFRS adoption is already an issue of global relevance among various countries of the world due to the quest for uniformity, reliability and comparability of financial statements of companies. Hung (2001) asserts that financial reporting is thus not an end in itself , but is intended to provide information that is iced in making reasoned choices among alternative uses of scarce resources in the conduct of business and economic activities. The premise of the IFRS is to make financial reports more transparent, comparable, harmonious and reliable. The IFRS represents a global or world GAAP and was first adopted by EU in 2005. Thus Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales
(ICAEW) (2014) emphasizes that increased comparability produces benefits in two ways. Understanding financial reporting imposes a cost on investors, and they may therefore be deterred from investing in companies that employ financial reporting systems which they are not already familiar with. If firms in different countries adopt a common system, investors are more likely to understand the financial statements of firms in these countries and therefore be willing to invest in them. Therefore increasing international comparability is expected to lower barriers to cross – border investments.
Financial reporting is the mirror which stakeholders use to assess company‟s performance. Chinwuba& Killian (2011) affirm that IFRS are a principle based set of standards that establish broad rules and also dictates specific treatments. Also, Cai & Courtenay (2014) posit that the IFRS are the best breed, high quality and principle based reporting standards that removes many allowable accounting alternatives. International Accounting Standard Board (IASB) (2008) highlights that the primary objective of IFRS based financial reporting is to provide high quality financial reporting information concerning economic entities, primarily financial in nature, useful for economic decision making. The evaluation of any corporate entity and its economic activities is very vital in the assessment of the entity‟s‟ performance. The management of corporate entities provides evidence of stewardship showing how resources entrusted at their care have been utilized through the publication and presentation of financial statements and reports. Hence financial reporting has become the fundamental base upon which investors and other users rely on to make investment decisions and to evaluate corporate performance. To ensure that such reports meet the needs and requirements of both national and international financial users, several standards and regulations have evolved overtime. However, due to differences in cultural, legal, political and other factors among nations thereby leading to differences in regulatory standards and difficulty in assessing the performance of multinational corporations, there arose a need to harmonize and converge into an acceptable single set of standards IFRS to provide a good ground for global financial reporting and help international market participants. Nigeria has not been left out of the global moves towards this single set of worldwide regulations and standards. Consequently, the Nigeria Federal Executive Council approved 1st January, 2012 as the effective date for convergence of accounting standards in Nigeria with IFRS. The NASB now referred to as FRC announced a staged implementation of IFRS with the expectation that all publicly quoted entities are to implement IFRS commencing from January 2012 and ending January 2014. The adoption of IFRS – a guideline created by
IASB, is intended to strengthen the financial reporting frameworks of firms in Nigeria.
Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria was empowered to regulate standards in Nigeria under Financial Reporting Council Act of 2011.
The IFRS are standards and frameworks adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) with a view towards the convergence, harmonization and internationalization of financial reporting globally. Invariably, IFRS is seen as an international GAAP and standards set to assist those involved in the preparation of financial statements all over the world to prepare and present financial reports that are seen to be of high quality, transparent and comparable internationally by both national and multi - national investors. IFRS are seen to be more detailed than Nigeria standards which were issued in early 1980s with no update in recent times and due to the continuous increase in Multinational companies investments, lot of developing countries (including Nigeria) have began to use IFRS for their domestic listed companies. In Europe and around the world, the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards represents the most important change in accounting regulation in recent years. The IFRS is seen as a standard that produces a “Network Effect” as it helps to foster increased comparability of financial statements by multinational investors.
In Nigeria, the oil and gas industryis believed to be one of the leading sectors capable of propelling economic development of the nation. It provides funds for capital market participants and promotes investment. Hence an increase in investments in the banking sector is expected to lead to an improvement in the performance of the economy. However, for any investor to commit funds to the industry, relevant financial reporting information must be provided regarding the performance of such entity. The financial statements and reports can only provide such a guide and satisfactory information to potential and prospective investors through effective regulations and standards. In line with this, the Nigerian oil and gas and other public entities in the financial service industry that are required by law to file returns to regulatory authorities were mandated to adopt IFRS since January, 2012. Prior to the mandatory adoption of IFRS by oil and gas in Nigeria, the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA, 1990) as amended till date, Oil and gas and Other Financial Institution Act (BOFIA 1999) as amended, Central Bank of Nigeria Act (CBN Act 1999), Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission Act of 2003 as well local and international standards including professional pronouncements must be complied with by oil and gas in the preparation and presentation of their financial reports. For instance, Part 1, Schedule 2 of CAMA 1990 outlines the form and content of published corporate financial reports. Nowadays, as earlier stated, all oil and gas financial reports must be presented and published in conformity with the requirements of IFRS. According to Iyoha&Faboyede, (2011), the widespread adoption of IFRS has been promoted by those who proposed that the benefits are far more than the costs. This notwithstanding, many countries have faced tremendous challenges following their decision to adopt IFRS. Following the adoption of IFRS in Nigeria, all commercial oil and gas listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange were mandatorily required to prepare and present their financial reports under IFRS by January, 2012. Since then, there were high expectations that this adoption will improve the quality of financial reporting, improve corporate performance of oil and gas, attract more investors and improve the reporting framework in Nigeria. Although there are studies conducted in Nigeria on the mandatory adoption of IFRS in Nigeria, several studies actually researched on the effect of such adoption on the performance of the banking sector. Hence with few years after its adoption and due to dynamic nature of IFRS, country specific, period specific, industry specific and sample specific this research study intends to use robust performance indicators to investigate the effect of IFRS adoption on the performance of oil and gas listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE).
1.2 Statement of Problem
IFRS effects vary from country to country and firm to firm. IFRS is country, firm and period specific. Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (2014) asserts that on many issues that arise from the European Union‟s adoption of IFRS, the evidence is unclear and different researchers arrive at different answers. This is usually because they have applied different tests or looked at different samples or at different periods. But such apparent contradictions make it difficult for the reader of research to draw conclusions. Often the results are unclear because of confounding factors. The adoption of IFRS in the EU was not a laboratory experiment. The world outside continued to change as IFRS came into effect in the EU and some of the changes were induced by the EU itself as it sought to reform its financial services and capital markets. Disentangling the effects of all these changes is one of the challenges of accounting research, and different researchers arrive at different conclusions as to which changes had which effects. In a bid to ensure that financial reports are prepared in such a way that it provides adequate and relevant information it is important that the preparers are provided with a basic framework that will guide the preparation of such statements. Several studies have been carried out to examine the extent to which IFRS improve financial reporting quality and provides additional information to users. The findings from these studies however showed conflicting results. Iyoha&Faboyede, (2011), emphasis that financial statements apart from providing information on the financial position of an entity, also provides other information such as cost of equity financing, cost of debt financing, liquidity and profitability position of the firm, amongst others. However, Armstrong, Mary, Alan, Edward &Riediel (2010) highlight that single set of accounting standards cannot reflect the differences in national business practices arising from differences in institutions and culture.
Multinational investors want financial statements and reports that are comparable with those in other parts of the world for making strategic decision. As such, many foreign investors will require their subsidiaries in Nigeria not to present their reports in local standards but to report in accordance with IFRS so that the parent company can comply with the reporting requirements in its domain territory. It is expected that following IFRS adoption by the Nigerian Oil and gas, the complications of the subsidiaries having to prepare different sets of records for reporting locally and internationally will be reduced, thereby facilitating business compliance globally. Before the global convergence to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), different countries of the world have had their respective accounting standards, developed, issued and regulated by their respective local bodies. In Nigeria for instance, the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) was responsible for developing, issuing and regulating accounting standards since 1982 till July 20th, 2011 when the Financial Reporting Council Bill was signed into law. Therefore, prior to IFRS adoption, the pattern of financial reporting varies amongst nations and regions. Kamal & Bhuiyan, (2003) posit that this variation impedes accountability and comparability of financial reporting among different countries. Hence, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) was developed as a result of the necessity for standardization. Indiael (2015) reveals that the existing empirical crams and conclusions on the impact of IFRS on corporate entities are mixed. This indicates the pressing need for empirically tested studies of this nature that are country specific. Blanchett Franchois& Girard (2011) assert that while the means and medians of IFRS ratios differ from the mean and medians of the same ratios under the prechange-changeover Canadian GAAP, the difference are not statistically significant at all. Also Asian (2015) opiums that despite a considerable interest in the effectiveness of accounting standards on the quality of financial reporting, empirical literature emerged that offers contradictory findings about the question to what extent accounting standards contribute to the decision usefulness of financial reporting information. Saidu &Umar (2014) highlight that the financial crises in the late 1990s, caused the international community emphasized on the major role that the observance of international standards and codes of best practices can play in strengthening national and international financial systems.
Mayer (1990) states that, the financial report of one organization if honestly and sincerely prepared, could serve as the basis in making a comprehensive and comparative assessment of its operations with like company. However, Chiha & Hamza (2013) assert that empirical accounting studies have been conducted to examine the extent to which IFRS provides additional relevant information and improve the information content of financial statements prepared in accordance with these standards. These studies have mixed results. Thus Soderstrom & Sun (2007) emphasize that the mixed findings can be partly explained by the influence of country specific factors. Hence the adoption of a common set of accounting standards across the globe may not improve quality of financial reporting homogeneously in each company and country because of other factors such as financial reporting incentives, legal systems and political systems that may affect accounting quality. The relevance of financial reporting is in its ability to ascertain and present the result of the economic activities of an entity in monetary terms in an objective and justifiable manner. Prior researches have produced inconsistent and mixed findings and consequent upon the gap in literature arising from the conflicting views on the impact of IFRS adoption on financial reports in Europe, Asia and other regions, this study thus provides evidence from the Nigeria perspective by studying the effect of such mandatory adoption on the performance of listed oil and gas in Nigeria. ICAEW (2014) find increased liquidity following mandatory IFRS adoption for firms in France and Germany, but report mixed findings for UK and Swedish firms. IFRS annually changes, therefore the effects found by one research will not always continue to apply indefinitely. Effects of IFRS varies from firm to firm and country to country. Previous findings are mixed hence the impetus for this study on listed oil and gas in Nigeria.
Ball (2001) premises that country specific factors such as the presence of an independent legal system, a strong accounting profession, the separation of financial reporting for public interests and taxation, and corporate ownership and governance structures all play role in creating an efficient public accounting disclosure environment. Nobes (2011) surmises that there are many opportunities for IFRS practices to differ from company to company and from country to country. For example, different versions of IFRS arise because most countries introduce delays or changes when implementing IFRS: in addition, there are options within IFRS. For several reasons, it can be expected that a company will continue with many of its previous accounting policy choices when it first adopts IFRS. Thus the country and industry specific nature of IFRS made this research imperative for Nigerian oil and gas. Therefore this study ascertained the effect of IFRS adoption on performance of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to empirically ascertain the effect of IFRS adoption on the performance of listed oil and gas on Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Other specific objectives are;
i.To ascertain the effect of IFRS adoption on return on equity of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria. ii.To evaluate the effect of IFRS adoption on earnings per share of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria.
iii. To assess the effect of IFRS adoption on net profit margin of listed deposit money oil and gasin Nigeria.
iv. To determine the effect of IFRS adoption on gross earnings of listed deposit money
oil and gas in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the objective of the study, the following research questions are pertinent;
i. What is the effect of IFRS adoption on return on equity of listed deposit money oil and gasin
ii. To what extent does IFRS adoption affect earnings per share of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria?
iii. How does IFRS adoption affect net profit margin of listed deposit money oil and gas in
iv. What is the effect of IFRS adoption on gross earnings of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To lend empirical credence to this study, the following research hypotheses are formulated;
Ho1: IFRS adoption has no significant effect on return on equity of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria.
Ho2:IFRS adoption has no significant effect on earnings per share of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria.
Ho3: IFRS adoption has no significant effect on net profit margin of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria.
Ho4: IFRS adoption has no significant effect on gross earnings of listed deposit money oil and gas in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Following the harmonization and convergence of accounting standards globally and the adoption of IFRS in Nigeria especially by the banking sector in the year 2012, the benefits accruing from this study are enormous and significant as it used more robust performance indicators to empirically investigate the aggregate effect of such mandatory adoption on the performance of the banking sector in Nigeria. Hence, this study will be significant in the following ways;
i. It will help capital market participants to understand the relevance of IFRS in improving financial reporting quality through profitability.
ii. It will provide a framework for Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and Central Bank of Nigeria to effectively understand how IFRS adoption has affected the activities of the banking sector through the findings and recommendation.
iii. The study will also serve as a reference point for future scholars who want to carry out a study on International Financial Reporting Standards through empirical review and findings.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is limited to the banking sector especially the commercial oil and gas listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. It is limited only to the effect of IFRS on listed commercial Oil and gas performance using two variables to measure such effect. The period of coverage is ten (10) years (2007 -2016), thus cutting across the 5 years before adoption (2007 - 2011) and 5 years post IFRS adoption era (2012 – 2016).
1.8 Limitations of the Study
In the course of this research, the following limitations were identified and resolved:
a. Dynamism in environment: Changes in events, institutions and anticipated markets after the adoption of IFRS may likely compound the effect of IFRS on the variables under study. This was controlled by selecting population and sample of the same
b. Reliability of secondary data: The secondary data used were obtained from financial statements prepared by the oil and gas as required by Companies and Allied Matter Act
(CAMA), Oil and gas and other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and other regulatory bodies. Thus the degree of reliability and credibility of the financial statements is anchored on the Auditors report.
In spite of these limitations, statistical tests were used to accommodate the effects of these limitations thereby making the research reliable.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1 Conceptual Review
2.1.1 Premise of International Financial Reporting Standards
Accounting practices are generally guided by sets of guidelines and rules which are compiled into accounting standards. The premise of accounting standards is to ensure uniformity and comparability of financial statements. These standards are regulatory statements of principle that guides how a particular item/ items or transaction is treated and disclosed. Before the year 2012, the Statements of Accounting Standards (SAS) was used in accounting practice in Nigeria. They are local accounting standards issued in Nigeria by the Nigerian Accounting Standard Board (NASB) till 2011. Section 335(1) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990 mandates all companies in Nigeria to prepare financial statements in compliance with the Statement of
Accounting Standards (SAS) developed and issued by NASB as amended periodically. The
Nigerian Accounting Standards Board Act of 2003 provided the legal framework under which NASB set accounting standards. As enshrined in the Act (2003), the primary functions of NASB were to develop, publish and update Statements of Accounting Standards to be followed by companies when they prepare their financial statement, and to promote and enforce compliance with the standards.
However, Umoren &Enang (2015) emphasize that the advent of the financial crises in late 1990s led the international community to emphasize the major role of the observance of international standards and codes of best practices in order to strengthen global financial systems. The international community called for the preparation of Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC), an assessment of the degree to which an economy observes internationally recognized standards and codes. Although the Nigerian Statements of Accounting Standards (SAS) are similar to IFRS in certain respects, many differences exist..