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Title: IFRS and IPSAS convergence in India : transnational perspectives
Author: Krishnan, Sarada
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 8589
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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In common with other countries India has been drawn into a global trend of standardising national accounting practices with international norms to enhance its ability to attract inward foreign investment and gain increased access to global capital markets. In 2004, India committed itself to achieving convergence with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in the public sector and in 2007 to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the private sector. Both sectors have taken the route to convergence with clear cut roadmaps being designed by the national accounting standard setters and the state. However, there has been a striking contrast in the decision-making processes and preparations for convergence in the two sectors. While the public sector made relatively good progress in terms of following the scheduled roadmap, the first roadmap issued for the private sector was scrapped, new deadlines were set and the roadmap was replaced in 2013 due to severe delays in the process which as of August 2016 have not yet been fully resolved. This cross-sector comparison is interesting because the contrasting decision-making scenarios in India exist despite the state being the central decision-maker in both sectors. Hence, while much existing literature on standardisation takes the decision to converge as a given and focuses on the implementation of IFRS or IPSAS, the purpose of this thesis is to examine the processes that led to the convergence decisions. Using a transnational governance theoretical lens, this thesis investigates the chaotic routes through which the idea of convergence travels before being finalised as an implementation decision, in both the public and private sectors in India. The research questions focus on unravelling the development of the convergence decision-making process in India, tracing the networks of national and transnational actors driving the process, analysing the two-way interactive dynamics between actors that shaped the process and examining the role of the state as the central decision-maker in the public and private sectors. The research methods included documentary analysis and in-depth interviews with key individuals in India, with substantial knowledge about the decision making with regards to convergence. Key empirical findings are as follows. Firstly, while in the early phases of decision-making, transnational influences, in the form of international financial institutions and standard setting agencies, were equally apparent in both sectors, in subsequent phases the transnational influences were greater and arguably more successful in the public than the private sector. Secondly, local resistance formed and was successful in delaying the project of IFRS convergence in the private sector. Local actors were successful in raising their concerns about, for example, fair value accounting and the impacts of IFRS accounting on taxation, and in the context of a turbulent political environment, their influence was powerful enough to cause delays. Thirdly, the empirics show the significance of foreign governments and inter-governmental regional networks as an important source of influence on the decision to delay IFRS convergence. Specifically, the study demonstrates how India’s position was also affected by the decision of the US, a major trading partner, to delay its convergence with IFRS, and by the informal links with countries such as Japan, another significant economic counterpart. This thesis has three important areas of contributions. Firstly, it makes a significant methodological contribution by studying convergence as a process rather than an event by tracing the dynamics preceding the actual implementation of international accounting standards. Conducting a study in such a manner entails identifying the multiplicity of actors involved in the convergence project, their concerns and opinions with regards to convergence, the means through which they voice these concerns, and the ultimate drivers of the decision-making behind convergence. Therefore, this study draws attention to the significance of understanding and fully accounting for the pre-implementation phase of convergence as such an understanding has a potential to provide a deeper insight into the primary sources of the difficulties with standards implementation observed in many countries. Secondly, this thesis contributes substantially to the existing standardisation literature. In most prior studies the discussion on accounting standardisation broadly revolves around the advantages and disadvantages of convergence, drivers of convergence and issues of compliance with international accounting standards. While this study finds the significant presence of transnational actors, a deeper analysis into the reasons for convergence delays in India was traced to a variety of legislative, political and economic concerns of stakeholders, especially local actors including potential users of these standards. Thirdly, this study contributes to the literature on global governance by highlighting the importance of not losing sight of the nation state as an important player in the transnational governance arena. Specifically, literature on global (accounting) regulation devotes a great deal of attention to the roles of organisations and agencies with transnational remits (such as global standard setters and donor agencies) while often downplaying the significant impacts of the more traditional cross-country links forged through economic relationships and resource dependencies. The aforementioned influences of India’s links with countries such as US and Japan on the decision-making process as well as India’s regional alliances with neighbouring Malaysia and China provide a vivid indication of the important roles of cross-governmental relationships in the global governance arena and also questions the position of transnational organizations as pervasive powers in such governance. The study’s findings clearly demonstrate that the pursuit of full IFRS convergence strongly favoured by the transnational forces was invariably challenged in the Indian context by the influences of powerful nation states advocating a more cautious approach.
Supervisor: Stapleton, Pam ; Samsonova-Taddei, Anna Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: IFRS ; Convergence ; Transnational Governance