Prons and Cons of Corporate Reporting

Powerful Essays
Accounting and Business Research, Vol. 40. No. 3 2010 International Accounting Policy Forum, pp. 259-273

259

The pros and cons of regulating corporate reporting: a critical review of the arguments
Robert Bushman and Wayne R. Landsman*
Abstract — In this paper, we distil essential insights about the regulation of financial reporting from the academic literature. The key objective is to synthesise extant theory to provide a basis for evaluating implications of pressures on the regulation of financial accounting following the recent financial crisis. We succinctly lay out arguments put forth both for and against the regulation of corporate disclosure and standard-setting. We then examine current developments suggesting that accounting standard-setting is at risk of becoming entangled in a web of political forces with potentially significant consequences. The crisis has brought into sharp focus the reality that the regulation of corporate reporting is just one piece of a larger regulatory configuration, and that forces are at play that would subjugate accounting standard-setting to broader regulatory demands. Recent actions by the European Commission relating to IFRS 9 and proposed legislation in the US Congress to create a systemic risk council serve to illustrate this point. We conclude by discussing in detail the recent fair value debate as a case study of the way in which bank regulatory policy and accounting standard-setting decisions were jointly determined as a potentially socially optimal means to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis. Keywords: regulation; corporate reporting; politics

1. Introduction
History attests to the influence of crisis and scandals as an impetus for regulatory intervention by politicians (Banner, 1997; Reinhart and Rogoff, 2008). After a series of scandals in the UK in the 1990s culminating in the collapse of Barings Bank, there was a dramatic shift in the structure of ñnancial regulation that consolidated regulation



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