The conceptual framework for financial accounting and reporting in the developing countries : empirical study of the unified accounting system in Egypt
In most developing countries there has been an uncritical acceptance of foreign accounting methods without taking into consideration their unique environmental needs. This situation has created chaotic practices and confusion in operations and procedures in these countries (accounting schizophrenia). Recently, some of these countries have rushed to apply international accounting standards, also without considering their individual circumstances. The basic premise on which the research rests is that this situation can not be allowed to presist. There exists a critical need for a model for identifying and managing accounting problems in developing countries. The building blocks of the suggested model are: (i) the three dimensions of the characteritics of the conceptual framework for financial accounting and reporting (structural organisational, and environmental), (ii) the applicability of the general medical model for disease regulation to accounting problems, and (iii) the applicability of the medical model for regulating schizophrenia to accounting problems in developing countries, having taken into consideration that accounting practices in these countries suffer from the two main symptoms (thought insertion or substitution, and will taken over and controlled by external forces) of the central syndrome of schizophrenia as a result of adherence to various foreign accounting influences. The proposed model comprised three interconnected processes: W case history, (ii) diagnosis which consists of preliminary examination and primary investigation, and (iii) treatment and management. it has the following advantageous characteristics: it is inductive and deductive, democratic and autocratic, comprehensive, systematic dynamic, and finally descriptive and prescriptive. It is believed by this writer that the attempt to develop the model should be accompanied by empirical study concerns with testing its applicability. The empirical study will be conducted in one of the developing countries, Egypt, because of the factors which will be discussed later. It has become apparent from the case history review that Egyptian accounting practices in the first studied period (from 1805 to 1956) suffered from accounting schizophrenia. In 1966, there was positive step for development with the issuing of the Egyptian unified accounting system which represents a reliable body of specialised knowledge for both the producers and users of accounting information. But there has been a long debate about the problems of the system because there is no diagnosis of them by empirical methods. Data for diagnosis process were collected through personal interview by structured questionnaire in the National Investment Bank in Egypt as a user of the information provided by the system. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that the system does work but it suffers from some problems which affect the usefulness of the provided information. These problems have been classified into three categories: structural, organisational, and environmental. Many of them are believed to result from important causes deeply rooted in human elements. The treatment must start from this key problem; human elements. Since 1974, the open Door Policy has been adopted and there are many new foreign pressure groups. The rush step towards the adoption of international accounting standards may cause the recurrence of accounting schizophrenia. In order to avoid this recurrence the strategy of 'prevention is better than cure' must be followed.