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IAS/IFRS Adoption, Accounting Obstacles, Tax Obstacles, Economic Obstacles
To guarantee the production of financial information that is useful for economic decision-making, most countries have a set of accounting standard used in preparing the financial statements. Indeed, the use of a common accounting language by all companies operating in the same economic space allows different users to monitor the activities of these entities in time and space and, therefore, take reasonable decisions. Thereby, the international accounting standards are a necessary to clarify the financial disclosure and make reading financial statements conform to a single repository easier. This strengthens the investor’s confidence, stimulates the financial market and ensures the best qualities that the financial information should be endowed. In deciding to adopt the international accounting standards IAS/IFRS, Tunisian authorities have launched a challenge to prompt a fast and adequate transition to a new accounting, financial, informational, organizational and internal control systems. However, this presents some obstacles related to the nature of the Tunisian economy which is characterized by a strong presence of small and medium companies, to the differences between the tax system and the accounting system, the conservative attitude of leaders and the high concentration of ownership.
The results of our research analysis shows that the conservative attitude of managers and the lack of dynamic and efficient markets are the most important obstacles to adoption of IAS/IFRS in Tunisia according to the Tunisians Certified Public Accountants TCPAs). We detailed our analysis for the accounting, tax and economic obstacles. For the accounting, we found that the application of IAS 19, IAS 36 and IFRS 4 are the standards that cause more problems at the moment of their implementation according to the TCPAs. In addition, the deferred tax, the actuarial method and the treatment financial instruments are the most complex treatments in IAS/IFRS. Finally, the differences between the Tunisian accounting system and the international system are undoubtedly an important obstacle. Concerning the tax obstacles, we found that companies prepare their financial statements first in accordance with tax rules. In fact, the differences between the tax rules of the Tunisian accounting system and the IAS/IFRS are undoubtedly an obstacle to a better adoption of them. In addition, another obstacle is the readiness of tax administration for the adoption of the IAS/IFRS. Finally, for the economic obstacles, we found that the IAS/IFRS’ adoption and implementation costs and the costs related to their enforcement are the main economic obstacles.