Almost all the respondents agreed that universal application of identical principles would be a major contribution to creating better and more easily comparable standards of financial reporting in today’s globalized economy.
The poll, which consulted business people in 90 countries on every continent, was conducted jointly by the International Chamber of Commerce and the Munich-based Ifo Institute.
A massive 97% of a panel of more than 1,000 business experts said uniform principles were either “very important” (51%) or “important” (46%) for achieving higher standards. The remaining 3% said that they would be “unimportant.” In its analysis, Ifo said: “These high percentages obviously reflect the Enron affair.”
Three out of every four respondents on a world average considered that stronger corporate governance, including disclosure, was more effective than tougher government regulation in improving financial reporting.
In western Europe and Latin America, 70% of respondents favoured stronger corporate governance, while 30% believed that tougher regulation was the best way to improve financial reporting.
The percentage of respondents in these two regions favouring stronger regulation was higher than anywhere else. In Australia and New Zealand, there was near unanimous preference for stronger corporate governance (99%).
Most of the respondents (54%) considered that both accounting standards and their implementation should be improved. For 41% of the respondents, the standards themselves were satisfactory but there was room for improved implementation. Only 5% thought that neither the standards nor their implementation needed to be changed.