Completeness of the qualitative characteristics using Foucauldian critical discourse analysis and content analysis paradigms: towards a revised conceptual framework

Gareth Evans*, Joanne Lusher, Stephen Day

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Qualitative Characteristics of decision-useful financial information (as set out in the revised March 2018 Conceptual Framework for financial reporting of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) are fundamental for standard setting relied on by companies when making accounting policy changes and choices. However, there has not been an overarching universally agreed conceptual context of the qualitative characteristics.
The present study evaluated the completeness of these qualitative characteristics using Foucauldian critical discourse analysis and content analysis paradigms to elucidate the inclusion conundrum. Foucauldian analysis allowed focus on power relationships, governmentality and subjectification in accounting society, as expressed through language and practices of the IASB who ultimately decide on the qualitative characteristics.

Content analysis was employed to analyse data collected via interviews with preparers and users of banks’ accounts, changes in banks’ accounting policies after the conceptual framework was published and comment letters from banks who wrote to the IASB.
Novel findings from this study revealed the potential significant omissions of the constraints of ‘materiality’, ‘transparency’ and ‘regulatory/supervisory framework’. Also, surrounding the qualitative characteristics having been shown to be valid and includable, the adjective ‘decision-useful’ reinstated in the chapter title and the IASB project team technical writers needing to show completeness of attention to all comments.
From these findings, a freshly formulated chapter in the conceptual framework on the qualitative characteristics can now be submitted for consideration by the IASB, with potential for international post-implementation review.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Financial Reporting and Accounting
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Apr 2021

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