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The role of political influence in the coexistence of accounting standards and a uniform accounting system: developments in China

Sun, Manli and Weetman, Pauline and Xiao, Jason Z. (2004) The role of political influence in the coexistence of accounting standards and a uniform accounting system: developments in China. Abacus, 40 (2). pp. 193-218. ISSN 0001-3072

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Abstract

This article investigates the role of political influence, as well as accounting tradition and the equity market, in China's recent changes in accounting regulation. We find that the Chinese government, in part self-motivated and in part under external pressure, has been active in developing accounting standards in harmony with international accounting standards. However, it has retained a uniform accounting system in the Enterprise Accounting System issued in 2000 to accommodate the special circumstances of a transforming government, strong state-ownership, a weak accounting profession, a weak and imperfect equity market, and the inertial effect of accounting tradition and cultural factors. This article also contributes to existing models of accounting system classification by illustrating the need for considering political influence as a factor that affects the rate of transition towards full implementation of international accounting standards.