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Accounting academics win prestigious grant

26 May 2005

Accounting academics win prestigious grant

A Victoria University researcher is playing a key role in an Australasian team that will help determine the future direction of international financial reporting standards.

Professor Tony van Zijl is part of a team of six researchers led by Dr Ann Tarca from the University of Western Australia that has won one of five $US20,000 research grants from the International Association of Accounting Education & Research. All five grants are funded by international accounting firm, KPMG, and the University of Illinois. Only two of the winning teams were from outside the United States.

The other team members are: Professor Michael Bradbury of Unitec New Zealand; Professor Philip Brown (University of New South Wales), Phil Hancock and Associate Professor David Woodliff (both University of Western Australia).

They will research alternative formats of companies’ statements of financial performance, looking first at the accuracy, speed and confidence with which users extract information. They will later extend their research to the reliability of the information and how well it predicts a company’s future performance.

Professor van Zijl says with international investment becoming increasingly common, it is vital that financial reporting standards are consistent across the world.

“When making investments in different jurisdictions, both individuals and corporate organisations rely on the information in audited financial accounts when making their decisions. They need to have the confidence that those accounts were prepared and audited to a common and consistent set of standards.”

Professor Brown says the accounting professions in Australia and New Zealand have traditionally been very influential in financial accounting research and professional standards.

“Our historical role is under threat as a direct outcome of adopting international accounting standards. We want to maintain our strengths and winning a prestigious competitive grant will enhance our international reputation. The potential payoffs are far-reaching, extending to the future viability of our universities’ overseas student programmes, for example.”

The research will be presented at three high profile international research meetings over the next 18 months involving representatives of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the US Financial Accounting Standards Board, as well as renowned accounting researchers. The results will be taken into account by the IASB when it considers changes to the format of financial statements next year.


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