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1.1              Background to the Study

The globalization of business had necessitated the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) in order to present a globally accepted and high quality financial statements which will provide reasonably accurate information about a company’s financial performance to investors and other interested parties that will enable them take investment, credit and similar resource allocation decisions across the globe. (Blanchette, et al, 2011).

With the advent of globalization the world’s capital markets have witnessed rapid expansion, diversification and integration. This has brought about a shift away from local financial reporting standards to global standards. Hence, it is in recognition of the need to have quality financial reports that the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) is becoming the vogue among countries. (Omowuyi & Ahmed, 2011).

The goal of financial reporting is to make information available for decision making. Diversity in financial reporting in different countries arises because of the difference in legal and tax systems and business structures. The International Financial Reporting Standard is intended to harmonize this diversity by making information more comparable and easier for analysis, promoting efficient allocation of resources and reduction in capital cost. (Ajibade, 2011).

Various nations have been using their own Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the basic accounting concepts to prepare their financial reports. However, over the years, many and several financial reports have come with discrepancies and differences that render such reports incomparable across nations. Secondly, reconciliation of these reports may not really be possible and thus it becomes difficult to use them to make financial decision across nations. Moreover, the usage of this Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) allows for creative accounting and other misrepresentations in the financial reports. It is not surprising, that the recent financial downturn is partly said to be due to difference in financial reports across nations. Consequently, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) proposed the accounting standards that will be acceptable all over the world, for example International Financial Reporting Standard (Fajonyomi & Kehinde 2013).

The Roadmap for adoption of IFRS in Nigeria was unveiled by Honourable Minister of Commerce and Industry on 2nd September, 2010. The roadmap has a three-pronged approach as follows.

Phase I: Publicly Listed Entities and Significant Public Interest Entities to take effect on 1st January, 2012. This means government business entities, all entities that have their equities or debt instruments listed and traded in the public markets (a domestic or foreign Stock Exchange or an over-the- counter markets). Examples of entities meeting these criteria include: Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), banks and insurance companies.

Phase II: Other Public Interest Entities to take effect on 1st January, 2013. This refers to those entities, other than listed entities (unquoted, private companies) which are of significant public interest because of their nature of business, size, number of employees or their corporate status which requires wide range of stakeholders. Examples of entities meeting these criteria are large not-for-profit entities such as Charities and Pension funds.

Phase III: Small and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs) to take effect on 1st January, 2014. Small and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs) refers to entities that may not have public accountability and their debt or equity instruments are not traded in a public market: they are not in the process of issuing such instruments for trading in a public market, they do not hold assets in fiduciary capacity for a broad group of outsiders as one of their primary businesses, the amount of their annual turnover is not more than N500 million or such amount as may be fixed by the Corporate Affairs Commission. Their total assets value is not more than N200 million or such amount as may be fixed by the Corporate Affairs Commission

i.          no Board members are foreigners

ii.         no members are a government or a government corporation or agency or its nominee

iii.        the directors among them hold not less than 51 percent of its equity share capital.

Entities that do not meet the IFRS for SME’s criteria shall report using Small and Medium-sized Entities Guidelines on Accounting (SMEGA) Level 3 issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  

The public Listed Entities that pioneered the adoption of IFRS was Oil and Gas Industry (Augustine, 2012). 

The difference in financial reports across nations was partly responsible for the financial down turn experienced in the world. For example, in December 2, 2001, Enron Corporation, an American Company, became bankrupt as a result of willful corporate fraud and corruption. Arthur Andersen, one of the “Big Five” accounting firms in the world voluntarily surrendered its licenses to practice as Certified Public Accountants. In 2002, Worldcom, another US based telecommunication company collapsed. 

Bratton & Cunningham, 2002, attributed these corporate scandals to failure on the part of Auditing Firms.  Enron Corporation was an American energy, commodities, and services company based in Houston, Texas. It was founded in 1985 as the result of a merger between Houston Natural Gas and Inter North, both relatively small regional companies in the U.S. Before its bankruptcy on December 2, 2001, Enron employed approximately 20,000 staff, and was one of the world’s major electricity, natural gas, communications and pulp and paper companies, with claimed revenues of nearly $111 billion during 2000. At the end of 2001, it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known since as Enron scandal. Enron has since become a well known example of willful corporate fraud and corruption. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations in the United States and was a factor in the enactment of the Sarbanes –Oxley Act of 2002. The scandal also affected the greater business world by causing the dissolution of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm.

Arthur Andersen LLP, based in Chicago, is an American holding company and formerly one of the “Big Five” accounting firms among Price-water-house Coopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and KPMG providing auditing, tax and consulting services to large corporations. In 2002, the firm voluntarily surrendered its licenses to practice as Certified Public Accountants in the United States after being found guilty of criminal charges relating to the firm’s handling of the auditing of Enron, an energy corporation based in Texas, which had filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

WorldCom was a US based telecommunications company and the second largest long-distance phone company in the country until a massive accounting scandal that led to the company filing for bankruptcy protection in 2002. Most notably, company founder and former CEO Bernard Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and former CFO Scott Sulivan received a five-year jail sentence, which would have been longer had he not pleaded guilty and testified against Ebbers. Under the bankruptcy reorganization agreement, the company paid $750 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in cash and stock in the new MCI which was intended to be paid to former investors.

In July 2002, WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York. Approximately one month prior, an internal audit showed the company improperly accounted for $3.8 billion in operating expenses over five quarters. After filing for bankruptcy, Sullivan was fired, senior vice president and controller David Meyers resigned, and 17,000 workers were laid off. WorldCom’s filing for bankruptcy, which did not include its foreign units, is as of 2016, the biggest in U.S. History. (Bratton & Cunningham 2002).

In 1997, the Nigerian banking sector collapsed with 26 banks liquidated. In October 2006, there was falsification of the company financial statement in Cadbury Nigeria Plc. (Olusola, Adeniran & Obiamaka, 2013). In 2009 in Nigeria, 10 banks were declared insolvent while 8 executive management teams of the banks were removed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In October 2006, the Board of Directors of Cadbury, Nigeria Plc. (Public Limited Company) informed the world of the discovery of overstatement in its accounts spanning a period of years. This overstatement was to the tune of between 85 and 100 million naira. The quality of financial reporting is essential to the needs of users who require useful accounting information for investment and other decision making purposes. Information emanating from financial reporting is regarded as useful when it faithfully represents the “economic substance” of an organization in terms of relevance, reliability and comparability (Spicel, Sepe & Tomassini, 2001). As observed by Chambers, Penman (1984) and Ahmed (2003), useful accounting information which derives from qualitative financial reports, assists in efficient allocation of resources by reducing dissemination of asymmetric information and improving pricing of securities.

Financial reporting is intended to provide reasonably accurate information that enables users of financial statement to take economic and investment decisions. Therefore financial report is prepared to meet information needs of various users of financial information. Hence, high-quality financial reports should produce financial information that reports events timely and faithfully in the period in which they occur. This becomes imperative as individuals and organizations are concerned about the future of their investments and of the organizations in which such investment decisions are made (Okwoli, 2001).

In 2001, the International Accounting Standard Board, (IASB), an independent, private sector body was formed to replace International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), with the main objectives of developing and approving International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The need for the reorganization is that, if accounting is the language of business, then, business enterprises all over the world cannot continue to be speaking in different languages to each other while exchanging financial numbers from their international business activities. Thus, a single set of global accounting standards would simplify accounting procedures by allowing the use of a common reporting language across the globe (Azobi, 2010).

A major breakthrough came in 2002 when the European Union (EU) adopted legislation that requires listed companies in Europe to apply IFRS in their consolidated financial statements. The legislation came into effect in 2005 and applied to more than 8,000 companies in 30 countries including countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom. The adoption of IFRS in Europe means that IFRS has replaced national accounting standards and requirements as the basis of preparing and presenting group financial statements of listed companies in Europe. Outside Europe, many other countries also have been moving to IFRS. By 2005, IFRS had become mandatory in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In addition, countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore have adopted national accounting standards that mirror IFRS. According to one estimate about 80 countries required their listed companies to apply IFRS in preparing and presenting financial statements by 2008. Many other countries permit companies to apply IFRS (Abbas, Magnus & Graham, 2008).

The Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) (2010) asserted that emergencies of the globalization of accounting standard, among others, have been reported to reduce the cost of producing supplementary information as well as enhancing comparability, understandability, evaluation and analysis of the financial statement. These have necessitated many developing countries that do not want to be left behind to take a cue from the world major economies to adapt, adopt or converge to the IFRS. Nigeria has equally taken steps to converge to IFRS; in 2011, Government signed into law, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) Act, 2011 with emphasis that the countries road map to stage adoption of IFRS was scheduled to begin by 1 January, 2012 with publicly quoted companies. Other Public Interest Entities (PIEs) were to converge to IFRS by 1 January, 2013 and small and medium size entities by 1 January, 2014 (NASB 2011). The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had however directed banks to comply with IFRS since 2010.

The legislation (Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act of 2011) is to create an enabling environment for the implementation of IFRS and to guarantee credible financial reporting regime in both private and public sector entities. In Nigeria, Government has equally empowered the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to issue and regulate accounting actuarial valuation, and auditing standards. What this means is that, the Nigerian Accounting Standard Board (NASB) together with the Statement of Accounting Standards (SAS) issued by it is now replaced. While this might be regarded as a welcome development, the questions that beg for answers as to whether the adoption of IFRS would improve transparency of financial reporting in Nigeria are a legion. IFRS is more principles based and does not provide issuers with the same degree of detailed guidance for the preparation of financial statements, as it is for instance, under Nigeria GAAP. (Azobi, 2010).

In compliance with IFRS, IFRS1 requires an entity to explain how the transition from local GAAP to IFRS affects its reported financial statements. It also requires an entity to prepare and present an opening statement of financial position at the date of transition to IFRS. This is the starting point of financial reporting through IFRS and will also result to two comparative financial statements for the period. However, the fundamental difference in the application of fair value accounting under IFRS and the Nigerian GAAP hampers the consistency of items of financial statements (Anna-Maija & Petri, 2007). The fair value accounting causes adjustment in financial statements and thus makes the financial statement, to differ from what it used to be. Therefore, problem of comparability and measurement of company performance might have emerged (Pawel, 2011).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Some researches were conducted in developed countries, especially those from European Union, on the impact of the adoption of IFRS on financial performance. However, very little evidence exists in Nigeria to demonstrate how IFRS adoption has impacted on financial performance of entities. This study, therefore, is a response to the need of financial statement users to know the impact of IFRS adoption on financial performance of Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria using financial ratios.

The main objective of the study is the assessment of the impact of the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards on the performance reporting of Nigerian Deposit Money Banks using financial ratios, while the specific objectives include the examination of the impact of the adoption of IFRS on the reported profitability measured by Return on Equity (ROE), on the reported liquidity, measured by Current Ratio (CR), on the reported gearing ratio, measured by Total Deposit to Equity (TDE) and on the reported interest cover measured by (FCC) of the Nigeria Deposit Money Banks.

The main features of IFRS which differ from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles also lead to variances in financial ratios which are the key indicators for measuring bank’s financial performance. These variances in the financial ratios will impair the comparability and measurement of banks performance. Basically, performance, stability and liquidity are essential for the survival of a business. The impact of the adoption of IFRS on these measures may reshape the continued existence of business as users of financial information now depend on IFRS based financial data. If banks are able to report better profits under IFRS, this is an indication that Nigerian GAAP may have been underestimating banks performance which may lead investors to the rational conclusion regarding the business reports. Meanwhile, creditors’ decision to advance further credits will also be affected by the significant differences found between the liquidity measures reported under the standards. More so, prospective investors would rely on leverage ratio as well as return on investments to speculate their fortunes in the firms. Therefore, the overall effect of these changes will affect the financial and economic decisions of various users of financial information.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to assess the impact of the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards on the performance reporting of Nigerian Deposit Money Banks, using financial ratios. The specific objectives are to:

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