Moving toward a principle-based approach to U.S. accounting standard setting: A demand for procedural justice and accounting reform

Wendy J. Bailey, Kimberly M. Sawers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the wake of numerous accounting scandals in the early 2000s, the U.S. began considering a move away from a more rule-based approach to accounting standard setting and toward a more principle-based approach to accounting standard setting. Although it is often assumed that this move toward a more principle-based approach is driven by stakeholder preferences, we examine whether this move is driven by demands for procedural justice. Specifically, we analyze one hundred and two comment letters submitted in response to the Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB) proposal for principle-based standards. We find respondents from different stakeholder groups (preparers, accounting professionals, regulators, users, and academia) do not express a unified preference for rule-based or principle-based standards. We do, however, find that respondents identify benefits and costs of principle-based standards that map into the six elements of fair procedures (representativeness, accuracy, bias suppression, consistency ethicality, correctability). These elements are significantly associated with both the respondent's degree of support for the FASB proposal and the perceived quality of principle-based standards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Accounting
Volume43
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Principle-based standards
  • Procedural justice
  • Rule-based standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance

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