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The culture and the accounting values: an empirical study in view of Portuguese preparers.
Abstract:
The theory of cultural relevance in Accounting as proposed by Baydoun e Willett (2005) based on Gray (1988) emphasizes the connection between the accounting values and the practices that materialize in form, content and the qualitative characteristics underlying financial reporting. This paper examines the classification given by Gray (1988) to Portugal based on accounting values identified for preparers of financial statements. The data were collected from a questionnaire conducted among a sample of 382 Accounting Technicians (TOC) during the year 2009. A multivariate analysis was used in data processing. The results found strongly support for the accounting value of the statutory control and uniformity and reasonably support for the secrecy and conservatism, suggesting the reclassification of the country or a redefinition of such values. The results show further evidence of that conservatism is linked to issues related to the measurement based on market values and the reliability of fair value, while the secrecy in Portugal is less present in the amount of information instead of quality of information disclosed. It is intended that this paper help to consider the importance of subjective aspects related to the quality of information in the process of the financial reporting.

Keywords: Accounting values, Qualitative characteristics, Culture, Gray, Professional judgment.

Article Type:
Report
Subject:
Financial disclosure (Evaluation)
Accounting (Technique)
Accounting (Evaluation)
Authors:
de Albuquerque, Fabio
Almeida, Maria do Ceu
Quiros, Joaquin
Pub Date:
05/01/2011
Publication:
Name: Journal of International Business and Economics Publisher: International Academy of Business and Economics Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business, international; Computers Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 International Academy of Business and Economics ISSN: 1544-8037
Issue:
Date: May, 2011 Source Volume: 11 Source Issue: 2
Product:
Product Code: 9108628 Financial Regulation & Reporting; 9915410 Reporting & Disclosure NAICS Code: 92615 Regulation, Licensing, and Inspection of Miscellaneous Commercial Sectors
Geographic:
Geographic Scope: Portugal Geographic Code: 4EUPR Portugal
Accession Number:
272616512
Full Text:
1. INTRODUCTION

The accounting is a product of the environment where it is inserted (Perera, 1989). In this sense, several researchers have focused on the causes that influence the systems and accounting practices (Baydoun and Willett, 1995; Belkaoui, 1982; Doupnik and Salter, 1995, Hofstede, 1980, Gray, 1988; Nobes, 1983), registering, among others, factors of political, economic, legal, cultural, etc., sources. These factors are often seen as a difficulty to the actual comparability of financial information between countries or, in other words, as a difficulty to the further international harmonization of Accounting. This argument is supported by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the organization that leads the movement of harmonization. In the preface of its Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements, it is noted the existence of different international standards which have probably been caused by a variety of social, economic and legal circumstances and by different countries having in mind the needs of different users of financial statements when setting the national requirements (IASB: 1989). Among the factors presented, the culture has deserved much of the attention of researchers who focused on the influences of various environmental factors on the systems and practices of international accounting. Since the hypothesis launched by Gray (1988), commonly pointed as a pioneer in this research field, numerous studies have emerged in an attempt to uncover the relationship between cultural values of accounting and professional judgment, both in terms of the preparers (Fah, 2008; Tsakumis, 2007) and in view of the auditors (Hope et al, 2008; Gul and Tsui, 1993).

In this context, one of the most visible effects of the influence of culture on professional judgment in the scope of accounting is the balance between of the qualitative characteristics of financial information that assumes more importance in each specific case (Baydoun and Willett, 1994; Obaidat, 2007). According to IASB Framework, a trade-off between qualitative characteristics is often necessary. Generally the aim is to achieve an appropriate balance among the characteristics in order to meet the objective of financial statements. The relative importance of the characteristics in different cases is a matter of professional judgment (IASB: 1989).

Harmonization provides comparability of financial information, and there is no doubt that this is its main advantage, since it promotes a significant compatibility between the international accounting practices, thus limiting and narrowing the range in which the conceptual differences tend to be accepted. Possible conflicts tend to be eliminated, and new positions will be incorporated by the majority of its members (Tarca: 2004). More than 100 countries now require or permit the use of IFRS or are converging with IFRS (IASB:2009). The previous accounting systems of countries that integrate the harmonization process, give rise to new structures, which mean changes, in some cases significant, of the accounting system then in force. In fact, the more significant these differences are, the more difficult it will be for the countries to comply with the new adopted accounting referential (Gray, 2005; Nobes, 1998).

The influence of culture in explaining the behavior of social systems has been recognized for some time. However, its impact on accounting as a social system is a relatively new study field. Any clarification on how the local values can infiltrate into the accounting treatment and disclosure of their impact on the final financial reporting is an important guarantee of comparability of financial reporting. According to Perera (1989), being a product of human activity, the accounting is constantly affected by judgments and decisions about the application of accounting concepts and principles applied. Under this view, the culture becomes one of the most crucial environmental factors on the practice of accounting, particularly with regard to norms and values shared by members of the same accounting system (Doupnik and Salter: 1995). The importance of Framework has been widely proclaimed not only by regulatory bodies, but also by many researchers (Choy and King, 2005; Demski and Christensen, 2007; McGregor and Street, 2007). Regarding in particular the formers, the stated objectives of Framework is revealed, in special, in the need of establishing a theoretical referential to guide the subsequent accounting regulation, minimizing the possible existence of conflicts and inconsistencies between the norms (FASB: 1976; IASB: 1989). According to FASB (1978), it is the issuing board itself the main beneficiary of the content required by the Framework, in a sense that they serve as a support and guidance for future norms, making the process more consensual. The Framework consider the needs of users of information, the objectives of information, the requirements and qualities that the information must meet to satisfy the needs of users and objectives of information, the definition of the elements of financial statements and the recognition and measurement criteria.

The new document, now at the discussion stage, proposes a new approach to the qualitative characteristics, classifying them in fundamental qualitative characteristics and enhancing qualitative characteristics, as has been advocated in the FASB. The issues raised by academic, professional and representative bodies of the professional work class exposed, already in the discussion phase of the project, the different interpretations for each of the concepts submitted for approval by the FASB-IASB (IASB, 2007, FASB, 2008a).

This article aims to examine, based on the model designed by Gray (1988) and in light of the concept of cultural relevance developed by Baydoun and Willett (1995), the accounting values that affect the judgment of Portuguese preparers to confirm or not to confirm the position of Portugal, as proposed by Gray (1988), in the group of least developed Latin countries, as a country with high levels of uniformity and statutory control, secrecy and conservatism.

2. THEORETICAL REFERENTIAL

The work of Hofstede (1980) on culture is the most extensive questionnaire of the national culture known to date (Doupnik and Tsakumis: 2004). For Hofstede (1980), societies are influenced by different environmental and technological factors and, therefore, develop different social values. These, in turn, affect the institutional processes, including, probably, the need of information of such processes. This seems to be the support to the claim that each culture can develop its own accounting system to serve their own needs, separate from another group and its distinct social values.

In questionnaires conducted on the attitude of employees, collected from approximately 116,000 employees of IBM in 39 countries, Hofstede (1980) has identified four dimensions underlying the culture in which each country could be located. The identified social values were:

1. The individualism versus collectivism: concerns to the relationship between the individual and the group with collectivism or loyalty values;

2. Large versus small power distance: related to social inequality and that includes the relationship of individuals with the authorities;

3. Strong versus weak aversion to risk: relates to the various ways of dealing with uncertainty;

4. Masculinity versus femininity: concerns to the social implications related to differences of gender in each country.

Through this perspective, Hofstede's model (1980) provides quantitative measurements for each country. This broad sample of quantitative data attracted many forms of crossed research that studied the cultural differences, since the measures are seen as reliable for use as independent variables in statistical analysis.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Based on Hofstede, Gray (1988) identified four dimensional values in the Accounting, which can be used to define a country in the frame of the subculture of Accounting. The theory of Gray (1988) leaves from a theoretical model to link the culture with the Accounting, on the understanding that the impact of culture on the values of Accounting, and the changes that occur in that context, can be evaluated. The values of Accounting, in turn, influence, in view of the author (Gray: 1988), accounting practices, including how to report and disclose information, thus creating what the literature calls, in the study of international differences, Accounting Systems. To Gray (1988), the table above can be used to explain differences in international accounting practices.

Thus, depending on different levels of external forces that shape social values, the various developments of the Accounting systems reflect and reinforce these values. These, in turn, affect the accounting systems, since cultural factors directly influence the development of accounting and financial information systems at the national level (Doupnik & Tsakumis, 2004). Gray (1988) extends the model of Hofstede (1980) when launching the idea of the existence of a subsystem of accounting, representative of a system of values incorporated in the primary values of society. Based on this idea, Gray developed four accounting values, based on the model of Hofstede, which can be represented as follows:

1. Professionalism versus statutory control: relates to the preference of each professional for the exercise of free judgment and for the maintenance of professional self-regulation, as opposed to compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in force and statutory control.

2. Uniformity versus flexibility: related to the preference for the application of uniform accounting practices between enterprises and the consistent use of such practices over time, as opposed to a possible flexibility, i.e., to act according to circumstances inherent to each company.

3. Conservatism versus optimism: relates to the preference for a cautious approach in order to cope with the uncertainty of future events, as opposed to a more optimistic view, related to the taking of risks in the form of a less cautious approach.

4. Secrecy versus transparency: concerns to the preference for confidentiality and restriction of the disclosure of information on the business only to those who are intimately involved with the management and financing business, as opposed to an approach of greater transparency, openness and public responsibility.

The table below shows the connection between the model of cultural values of Hofstede (1980) and the accounting values of Gray (1988), indicating the existence of thirteen cases of relationship between the variables of each of the models above.

The first two dimensions of the model of Gray (1988) are related to the authority and enforcement of accounting practices, while the latter are related to the measurement and disclosure of accounting information, both at the internal level. The work of Gray (1988) is commonly referred to as a pioneer in developing the idea that culture influences the practice of accounting (Jagger and Low, 2000; Tsakumis, 2007; Zarzeski, 1996). Based on Gray (1988), Portugal is in group of least developed countries, which means its definition in terms of accounting values as a country with high levels of statutory control, uniformity, conservatism and secrecy. However, Gray (1988) did not executed his hypothesis, nor led empirical tests to obtain support for its structure, leaving it to other researchers in the field of accounting the merit of proving its validity. Several contributions in the literature emerged then in an attempt to extend or refine the conceptual model of Hofstede-Gray for understanding the influence of culture on accounting (Perera: 1989, Fechner and Kilgore 1994; Baydoun and Willett: 1995).

A major criticism to the model of Gray (1988) and in line with the objectives of this work was proposed by Baydoun and Willett. (1995). For these authors, the work of Gray (1988) does not clearly define to what extent the cultural attributes of social groups--to the detriment of the material attributes of the accounting technology--represent their accounting values, and with what purpose they intervene as explanatory variables between the model of basic cultural dimensions of Hofstede (1980) and the characteristics that are expected to be found in the studied accounting practices. Basically, it was a relatively well-built model, but difficult to demonstrate, based on the best evidence that we can have: the qualitative characteristics of financial reporting. Baydoun and Willett (1995) also state that all accounting values of the model of Gray (1988) are defined in terms of preferences for certain courses of action, not in terms of apparent attributes of financial statements, such as the qualitative characteristics described in the project of Framework proposed by the FASB (FASB, 1980).

Following this reasoning, the authors suggest an hypothesis of relationship between the technique related to the accounting practices and disclosure, and the qualitative characteristics of financial information, based on three concepts from Gray's model (1988), namely, uniformity, conservatism, and secrecy, also having as base the concept of cultural relevance of accounting information developed in their study (Baydoun and Willett: 1995) and absent in the work of Gray (1988).

The authors present, therefore, how the interaction between these concepts of the model of Gray (1988) and some qualitative characteristics proposed by the FASB (1980) could be materialized in the financial reporting disclosed by entities. For the authors, the uniformity as a technical feature of financial reporting include the qualities of consistency and comparability, each acting in different ways relevant to the question of the apparent uniformity of accounting policies over time and uniformity of presentation of accounting information between different reporting entities, respectively. To the authors, the conservatism and secrecy overlap their effects, on the other qualitative characteristics. The conservatism is most pertinent in matters related to the quality of information disclosure and is, therefore, associated with physical characteristics such as objectivity, verifiability, reliability, neutrality and substance over form. These elements determine specific questions about the form and content of financial reporting, such as the choice of historical cost versus the current value. The secrecy, in view of Gray (1988), may be similarly related to the characteristics related to the quantity of the items disclosed in the financial reporting, particularly, the presentation in forms of aggregated or disaggregated information.

[TABLE 2 OMITTED]

Therefore, it relates to the analysis of the attributes of responsibility (accountability) and the usefulness of the decision (decision usefulness). These concepts relate to concerns about the standards of disclosure, focused on the user and on the nature of the reporting entity, issues that, in view of these authors, "are not clearly addressed in the original model of Gray (1980)" Baydoun and Willett (1995). It should be noted that Baydoun and Willett (1995), similar to Gray (1988), not operationalized their hypothesis. However, this paper is based on an empirical study conducted years later by Chanchani and Willett (2004), based on the model of Gray (1998) and following of developments proposed by Baydoun and Willett (1995).

3. METHODOLOGY

The collection of primary data was carried out by indirect observation, namely through questionnaires directed to Portuguese preparers of financial statements. Many similar studies in this field, particularly the studies related to the evaluation of environmental influence on the professional judgment, used the questionnaire as a primary research method (Chanchani e Willett, 2004; Fah, 2008; IASB, 2008; Ngaire, 2006; Obaidat: 2007; Olimidt e Calu, 2007; Tsakumis, 2007). The questionnaire was subjected to a pre-test driven and motivated by the following objectives:

(1) Identification of matters outside the scope of this investigation;

(2) identifying issues unclear or poorly made;

(3) Analysis of primary data in order to assess whether there is an appropriate relationship between the variables and assumptions defined in this study.

The pre-test questionnaire allowed fully complies with the objectives previously defined. This process resulted in the reformulation and even elimination of some questions which include issues of environment.

Considering the study plan specified above, we set the following hypothesis: Hypothesis (H1): Portuguese preparers have high levels of uniformity, conservatism, secrecy and statutory control, which confirms the classification of Portugal in the group of the least developed Latin countries, as proposed by Gray (1988).

The questionnaire, composed by a total of 16 issues of analysis, is divided into four groups, each group representing one of the accounting value of Gray (1988) analyzed in this study. The design of this part of the questionnaire is based on the questionnaire developed for the same purpose by Chanchani and Willett (2004). The authors mention in their study that Gray (1988) contributed actively in the development of the questionnaire. In the tables below are presented in synthetic terms, the four groups of issues representing the accounting values of Gray (1988) proposed in the questionnaire:

The scale used in the questionnaire was based on Likert-type scale 1-5 values, from "strongly disagree" (1) to "strongly agree" (5). As an object of study, the universe of analysis included preparers, as key intervenient in the process of the preparation of financial information and the auditors, as primarily responsible for issuing an opinion on the true and fair view of the disclosed financial information. The questionnaire was distributed among OTOC (Ordem dos Tecnicos Oficiais de Contas) members, the organization responsible for regulating the accounting profession in Portugal. The disclosure of the questionnaire includes the first semester of 2009 and the data were collected from a sample of 382 Accounting Technicians (TOC). The data collected were then submitted to multivariate analysis.

The table above shows the main data on sample data and other statistical analysis that formed the basis of this study.

To calculate the sample size, we used the method suggested by Arkin (1982), by applying the following formula:

n = p(1 - p)/[(SE/Z).sup.2] + p(1 - p)/N

By applying the above formula and based on parameters defined in the table, the sample collected for this study satisfies the criteria defined by Arkin (1982) concerning the minimum size required.

4. ANALYSIS OF RESULTS

According to the classification proposed by Gray (1988), Portugal is part of the group of the least developed Latin countries, which means in terms of accounting values that is a country with high levels of statutory control, uniformity, conservatism and secrecy.

To test the hypothesis H1, based on a model developed by Chanchani and Willett (2004), we used two multivariate analysis techniques, namely the reliability analysis and the factor analysis. The same techniques were used by Chanchani and Willlett (2004) in a similar study whose sample was composed by users and preparers of financial information in India and New Zealand.

The table below shows, in the first column, the accounting values of the Gray's model (1988) analyzed in this study. In the second are listed to each group of the four related issues the one proposed accounting value. The third column shows the Cronbach's alpha found.

The lines of the table above have been repositioned in terms of increased Cronbach's alpha found. Thus the issues I.6, I.9, I.11 and I.13, related to uniformity, have the highest value of the Cronbach's alpha (0.680). The issues I.2, I.4, I.12 and I.16, related to statutory control, have a Cronbach's alpha of 0.634 and the issues I.3, I.8, I.10 and I.15, identified with the secrecy, have a Cronbach's alpha of 0.495. Finally, the issues I.1, I.5, I.7 and I.14, proposals for conservatism, performed most poorly in terms of Cronbach's alpha (with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.493). Chanchani and Willett (2004) pointed out the impossibility of comparing Cronbach's alpha found in their study with the values obtained for the same indicator. However, the low values for Cronbach's alpha found in Chanchani e Willett (2004) did not prevent the study to continue, together with the factor analysis also carried. It is also important to mention the fact that in this paper are higher than the Cronbach's alpha found in Chanchani and Willett (2004), other than the accounting value of uniformity. Even so, the use of reliability analysis is important to establish the identification for each of the four sets of issues with the latent variables.

The table 6 shows the five factors extracted from factor analysis carried out, explaining 60.94% of the total variance, value also higher than the 49% found in the study of Chanchani and Willett (2004). The first factor explains approximately 13,72% of the total variance. The second and third factor explain 10,21%, and the subsequent factors explain, respectively, 9,18%, 9,09% and 8,51% of the total variance. Except the first and second factors, all results related to variances explained found in this study are higher than those found by Chanchani and Willett (2004).

The table 7 shows the factor analysis performed on sixteen issues presented in the questionnaire, related to the accounting value proposed by Gray (1988).

From the analysis presented in the table 7, it appears that the first factor includes three issues related to the accounting value of statutory control (I.2, I.12 and I.16), with higher incidence for two issues (I.12 and I.16), related to the control by professional organizations. It reduces, however, with regard to issue I.2, related to the strengthening of regulatory frameworks in professional practice. The second and third factor includes two issues of uniformity each, related to standardization of financial reporting (I.6) and indiscrimination application of Framework (I.13), in the second factor, and immutabilities of accounting policies and elimination of alternatives treatments, in the third factors. The fourth factor includes more strongly two issues identified with secrecy (I.3 and I.10), related to dissemination of financial reporting and increased disclosure requirements, respectively. The fifth factor in turn includes two issues identified with conservantism (I.5 and 1, 14), related to reliability of market values and verifiability of fair value, respectively. Finally, the last factor includes two issues (I.7 and I.8) of secrecy and conservantism, respectively, the first of these related to association between financial reporting and corporate strategy and following on the association between judgment and the qualitative characteristics.

The scree plot graph helps to identify the factors that are more relevant in explaining the variance. The graphic shows that there is a greater power in explaining the variance from the first to the second factor, decreasing gradually until the sixth factor, when there is a sharper fall in the slope of the curve.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Thus, based on the results presented above, we note that the uniformity and statutory control is the accounting values that present the highest levels of identification among the issues on the basis of reliability analysis (Cronbach's alpha). It is also observed that Portuguese preparers accept more easily the control which is exercised by the professional organization at the expense of State supervision.

The Cronbach's alpha found for the secrecy is closely following the same indicator obtained for conservatism. The factor analysis, in turn, favors in the sixth factor the relationship between two questions: the first concerns the association between the financial reporting and corporate strategy while the following points to the association between the judgment and the qualitative characteristics or, in other words, the factor analysis favors the connection between the accounting value of conservatism and secrecy.

The accounting value of conservatism has the lowest Cronbach's alpha. The factor analysis, in turn, favors in the fifth factor the relationship between two questions, both strongly linked to reliability of market value and verifiability of fair value. Such questions indicate, in other words, a lower predisposition of risk-taking in the professional practice.

5. CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study found strong support for the accounting value of statutory control and uniformity and a reasonable support for values relating to conservatism and secrecy, rejecting the hypothesis under study. The statutory control appears more closely related to the need felt by professionals, increased monitoring by professional organizations, including the creation of barriers to entry, rather than the control exercised by the government. The uniformity is very closely associated with issues relating to the immutability of the accounting policies and the elimination of alternative treatments, both with the qualitative characteristic of comparability and its elements, which includes consistency. An attitude of transparency is more robust than its opposite. However, It was a concern identified further strengthened with regard to the amount of information disclosed, examples of which are the dissemination of financial reporting and increase of disclosure requirements, to the detriment of the quality of information disclosed, as exemplified by disclosure of non-use of a qualitative characteristics. Similarly, we found also a link between the book value of conservatism and secrecy, suggesting the recognition by professionals of the importance of reliability and verifiability of the information contained in financial reporting. Finally, relatively to the accounting value of conservatism, this study confirm a low susceptibility of Portuguese prepares to take risks related to professional practice, particularly as regards issues related to reliability of measurement based on market values The results of this study, despite its limitations, do not support the hypothesis. The significant changes experienced by Portugal in recent years, in a context of greater openness, may be pointed as sources of a repositioning or change in the values of professional institutions related to accounting.

This study, however, focused on the study of accounting values as proposed by Gray (1988), without proposing to investigate the factors that are the cause of cultural change within the subculture of Accounting, or the existence of new values accounting related to such changes.

This study has some limitations. The first limitation to be mentioned concerns the small number of issues presented in the questionnaire. That would have helped to identify a less strengthened between the issues and values that sought to analyze records. This same limitation was reported by Chanchani and Willett (2005). The difficulties inherent to the process of conducting a questionnaire made this study maintained the same number of questions proposed by those authors. Similarly, studies surrounding the cultural values and professional judgment present a very subjective factor and insuperable should also be referenced here. The relative absence of empirical studies on the theory of cultural relevance proposed by Gray (1988), in the light of developments Baydoun and Willett (1995), it was revealed particularly in the national context another limiting factor for the development of this paper. A similar situation was observed with regard to studies that surround the issue of professional judgment from different perspectives and in the specific context of accounting related to the quality of information. The study of international differences in accounting is important for countries and organizations involved in international accounting harmonization, given that the cultural factor and its effect within the subculture of accounting should not be neglected (IASB: 1989, CNC: 2003).

Even at an advanced stage of the harmonization process it is hoped that this and other studies in this field of research to continue to provide the necessary support to decision-making by issuing international standards, as well as by national authorities for the subscription of such standards.

Understand the impact and implications of the concepts related to accounting practice, based on professional judgment, contributes to the objectives behind the process of harmonization, in particular, the effective comparability of financial reporting at the international level can be more easily achieved.

Since the ratings given by Gray (1988) to Portugal, significant changes have been experienced, which focuses on the consolidation of the country within the EU, greater openness to the outside, the strengthening of international relations, and in the field of accounting the deepening of their role in international harmonization. Since culture is a factor changing over time, further research could focus on the factors that are the cause of cultural change, its effects within the subculture of accounting and, more specifically, within the values defined for accounting professionals.

Further studies could relate more directly the hypothesis raised by this paper, namely the relationship of the accounting values with the importance given by professionals to the qualitative characteristics and constraints to information or even the professionals' preferences for certain concepts and values (accounting or otherwise) that underlie such preferences.

Studies in the fields of culture and trial work have examined the relationship between specific variables of the samples, such as gender, academic or more relevant years of professional experience with the effects of such differences in the light of the professional judgment.

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Fabio de Albuquerque, Instituto Politecnico de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

Maria do Ceu Almeida, Instituto Politecnico de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

Joaquin Quiros, Universidade de Extremadura, Badajos, Espanha
TABLE 4: ISSUES RELATED TO ACCOUNTING VALUES.

The Professional Judgement of Accounting Technicians (TOC)

1.    Using the scale below, indicate to what extent you
      agree or disagree with each statement below:

                                strongly disagree   strongly agree
                                       1    2    3    4    5

1.1.  In case of doubt, the assessment by the lowest           R = [ ]
      available value requires the faithful representation
      of an economic phenomenon

1.2.  If there is conflict between IAS/IFRS and the            R = [ ]
      IASB Framework, the IAS/IFRS prevail in any
      circumstance on the Framework

1.3.  The financial report must be available to the            R = [ ]
      general public, not just to a select group of
      stakeholders

1.4.  The Accounting Technicians (TOC) profession in           R = [ ]
      Portugal should be under the direct control of the
      State

1.5.  The market value is generally less reliable than         R = [ ]
      historical cost, even more relevant

1.6.  The statutory financial reporting should follow          R = [ ]
      a standard format for all entities

1.7.  The information that could compromise the                R = [ ]
      organization's strategy should not be disclosed in the
      statutory financial reporting

1.8.  The Accounting Technicians (TOC) must decide,
      based on professional judgement, the qualitative         R = [ ]
      characteristics that reflect the true and fair view of
      statutory financial reporting

1.9.  Accounting policies, once chosen, should not be          R = [ ]
      changed in any case.

1.10. The disclosure requirements set out in statutory         R = [ ]
      financial reporting standards should be increased

1.11. Alternative treatments prescribed by the IASB            R = [ ]
      accounting standards should be eliminated

1.12. The Accounting Technicians (TOC) profession in           R = [ ]
      Portugal should be more heavily regulated

1.13. The IASB Framework should apply to all entities,         R = [ ]
      independently of sector of activity or size

1.14. The fair value of an asset, if applicable, must          R = [ ]
      always be supported by external documentation

1.15. The failure or omission of any use of a                  R = [ ]
      qualitative characteristic of information must always
      be disclosed

1.16. The mechanisms of access to the Accounting               R = [ ]
      Technicians (TOC) profession in Portugal should be
      subject to greater scrutiny by the Professional
      Association

SOURCE: BASED IN CHANCHANI AND WILLETT (2004).


TABLE 1: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CULTURAL VALUES OF HOFSTEDE
(1980) AND THE ACCOUNTING VALUES OF GRAY (1988).
SOURCE: RADEBAUGH AND GRAY (1993).

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GRAY S ACCOUNTING DIMENSIONS
AND HOFSTEDE'S CULTURAL DIMENSIONS

                                 Accounting values (Gray)
Cultural Values
(Hofstede)        Professionalism  Uniformity  Conservatism  Secrecy

Power Distance           -              +            ?         +

Uncertainty
Avoidance                -              +            +         +

Individualism            +              -            -         -

Masculinity              ?              ?            -         -

Note: '+' indicates a direct relationship between the relevant
variables; '-' indicates an inverse relationship. Question marks
indicate that the nature of the relationship Is in determinate.

TABLE 3: MAIN DATA ON SAMPLE AND OTHER STATISTICAL ANALYSIS.

Sample size and population and other statistical analysis:

Preparers (sample): n1                          382
Preparers (population): N1                   75.160
Significance level                             0,05
Z                                              1,96
SE=Standard Erros                                5%
p = Sucess probability                          50%
Software used                             SPSS 13.0
Timing of the questionnaire    1[degrees] S de 2009
  (including the pre-test)

TABLE 5: RELIABILITY ANALYSIS. SOURCE: RESULTS FOUND BY AUTHORS.

Accounting values:
   Gray (1988)          Related issues       Cronbach's alpha

Uniformity             I.6, I.9, e I.13           0,680
Statutory control    I.2, I.4, I.12 e I.16        0,634
Secrecy              I.3, I.8, I.10 e I.15        0,495
Conservantism        I.1, I.5, I.7 e I.14         0,493

TABLE 6: TOTAL VARIANCE EXPLAINED.

Total Variance Explained
(Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis)

                   Initial Eigenvalues

Component    Total    % of Variance    Cumulative %

1            3,094           19,337          19,337
2            1,748           10,926          30,264
3            1,450            9,060          39,323
4            1,292            8,075          47,398
5            1,099            6,866          54,265
6            1,068            6,674          60,939
7             ,958            5,985          66,924
8             ,824            5,149          72,073
9             ,793            4,956          77,029
10            ,718            4,486          81,516
11            ,661            4,128          85,644
12            ,595            3,717          89,361
13            ,563            3,521          92,882
14            ,473            2,955          95,837
15            ,389            2,429          98,265
16            ,278            1,735         100,000

             Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings

Component    Total    % of Variance    Cumulative %

1            2,195           13,720          13,720
2            1,635           10,218          23,938
3            1,635           10,218          34,156
4            1,469            9,180          43,337
5            1,455            9,092          52,428
6            1,362            8,511          60,939
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

SOURCE: RESULTS FOUND BY AUTHORS.

TABLE 7: FACTORIAL RESULTS. SOURCE: RESULTS FOUND BY AUTHORS.

Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization.
Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

         Rotated component matrix               1        2        3

I.1  Prudence and faithful representation    -0,208    0,314    0,137
I.2  Conflict between the Standards and       0,723   -0,026    0,146
     Framework
I.3  Dissemination of financial reporting    -0,131    0,112   -0,070
1.4  Government control over the              0,227    0,401   -0,136
     profission
I.5  Reliability of market values             0,109   -0,209    0,024
I.6  Standardization of financial             0,338    0,644   -0,061
     reporting
I.7  Financial reporting and corporate        -0,50    0,062    0,025
     strategy
I.8  Judgment and the qualitative             0,045    0,146    0,049
     characteristics
I.9  Immutabilities of accounting policies    0,145    0,001    0,683
I.10 Increased of disclosure requirements     0,155    0,266    0,288
     Elimination of alternatives             -0,210    0,083    0,785
     treatments
1.12 Regulation of the profession             0,761    0,355    0,010
I.13 Indiscrimination application             0,049    0,735    0,164
     of Framework
I.14 Verifiability of fair value              0,075    0,301    0,243
I.15 Disclosure of non-use of a               0,415    0,025    0,434
     qualitative characteristics
I.16 Access to the profesion                  0,762    0,210   -0,161

         Rotated component matrix               4        5        6

I.1  Prudence and faithful representation    -0,586    0,338    0,030
I.2  Conflict between the Standards and       0,047   -0,127    0,056
     Framework
I.3  Dissemination of financial reporting     0,780    0,227   -0,022
1.4  Government control over the             -0,176    0,328   -0,379
     profission
I.5  Reliability of market values             0,001    0,744    0,152
I.6  Standardization of financial             0,015    0,015    0,125
     reporting
I.7  Financial reporting and corporate       -0,294    0,254    0,667
     strategy
I.8  Judgment and the qualitative             0,191   -0,063    0,792
     characteristics
I.9  Immutabilities of accounting policies   -0,010    0,056    0,233
I.10 Increased of disclosure requirements     0,509    0,050    0,100
     Elimination of alternatives             -0,050    0,000   -0,074
     treatments
1.12 Regulation of the profession             0,058    0,146   -0,059
I.13 Indiscrimination application             0,120   -0,081    0,099
     of Framework
I.14 Verifiability of fair value              0,231    0,544   -0,065
I.15 Disclosure of non-use of a               0,164    0,342   -0,114
     qualitative characteristics
I.16 Access to the profesion                 -0,042    0,309   -0,051
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