The mandatory adoption of IFRS on intangibles: upheaval or inertia? The case of France

International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation (2012)
Auteurs : Corinne Bessieux-Ollier, Marie Chavent, Vanessa Kuentz, Elisabeth Walliser

This paper examines the effects of mandatory adoption of IFRS on intangibles in the French environment where firms were unable to develop ‘experience of international standards’ before they became mandatory from 1 January 2005. The question we try to answer is the following: did the change of accounting standards concerning the intangibles lead to the upheaval announced in the French accounts or did it rather introduce a phenomenon of inertia on behalf of the firms trying to modify their financial statements at a minimal level? An innovative divisive hierarchical clustering method for firms was applied: the DIV method. The results indicate three clusters of firms, each affected differently by the transition. Only one cluster displays a significant change whereas the others are unaffected by the transition. The inertia phenomenon described by Nobes (2006), arguing that pre-IFRS accounting treatments could survive under IFRS, is thus confirmed.