The accounting conservatism principle

In this paper we analyze the relationship between the accounting conservativism rule and the effects of this rule in the Dutch banking sector during the economic crisis. We will concentrate on several fiscal establishments and other companies that later performed good or black. The chief subject of our research paper is a probe of economic effects in the accounting scientific discipline. We will discourse an accounting rule and so look into the effects that this rule has on certain economic events. The sub subject of our paper is a farther probe of the well-known and the of import accounting conservativism rule. We will utilize the conservativism rule to do a new analysis by researching this rule and its effects on the operation of several Dutch fiscal establishments during this province of negative economic kineticss.

1.2 Relevance

The chief focal point of this paper is to farther look into a relevant and good acknowledged sub subject in the accounting scientific discipline, sing the battalion of old scientific documents and our ain involvements we have chosen for the accounting conservativism rule. A brief definition of this accounting rule is: A accounting guideline that understates assets and grosss and overstates liabilities and disbursals. ( Dictionary of Accounting Footings, 4th edition, Joel G. Spiegel, Jae K. Shim ) This means that disbursals should be recognized straight while grosss should be recognized when its verifiable that will be realized. The conservativism rule holds that in describing the fiscal statements a more pessimistic image ( understate ) than a optimistic image ( overstate ) will be described, due to this rule there is less opportunity of users of fiscal information being hurt by trusting on prepared fiscal statements. The accounting conservativism rule in of the most of import rules in the accounting profession and scientific discipline, Basu ( 1997,8 ) provinces that conservativism has influenced the accounting pattern for more than 500 old ages. Watts ( 2003 ) wrote in his paper conservativism in accounting, that there is a great scientific benefit in farther researching the accounting conservativism rule. In our sentiment it would be a great chance to further research the effects of this of import and long permanent rule in combination with the recent fiscal crisis. The recent fiscal crisis emerged in 2007 and at the minute of composing the effects and economic effects is still seeable and active in today ‘s concern universe. We will briefly present this recent fiscal crisis in order to supply the necessary heuristics to the impersonal reader.

Due to assorted facets this crisis has emerged and evolved and left its footprints on the full concern universe. We will discourse the of import facets that created the crisis and have made the crisis more sustainable that are given by several economic experts. First of all the fiscal crisis came into being in the United States in the terminal of 2007. The most of import cause of the fiscal crisis are the foolhardy and unsustainable loaning patterns of several top Bankss in the United states[ 1 ]. Assorted US top Bankss sold fiscal merchandises with high hazard to their clients, particularly existent estate mortgages. These mortgages where covered by securities, which had hazards that were hard to gauge. A reaction to a more wide recognition roar, addition in oil and nutrient monetary values was a bad bubble in existent estate and equities, which served to reenforce the hazardous loaning patterns.[ 2 ]The outgrowth of high hazard loan losingss was the beginning of a fiscal crisis in 2007. In effect of the loan losingss and the autumn of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 a fiscal terror brakes out. As consequence of monolithic diminutions in stock rates and existent estate monetary values several big investing establishments and Bankss in both Europe and the United States came in serious fiscal problem and some of them went bankrupt. This worldwide crisis has caused several economic effects like ; quickly increasing unemployment rates, a diminution of trade good monetary values, a autumn of international trade and of the most of import effects of all is a deficiency of trust of populace in fiscal establishments, Bankss and the public began to put inquiry Markss on direction policies, schemes and ethical behavior. The general consensus of economic experts is that this crisis is traveling to be the worst since the Great Depression of 1930 and that complete recovery of the market will be accomplished someplace near 2010/2011[ 3 ]4. This planetary phenomenon is the footing for a batch of scientist and practicians to look into the causes, consequences, possible bar methods and the manner to construction these fiscal establishments in a manner that such economic crisis could be prevented in the hereafter. In our research we will concentrate on the causes of the economic crisis, we will advert some of them while others that are more important for our research will be presented more intricately. Some practicians and research workers claim that these are the chief causes of the fiscal crisis: addition of oil monetary values, weakened ordinance activities by the authorities, improper and unequal operation of CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank Alan Greenspan and over-leveraging ( recognition default barters and collaterized debt duties ) . To present our research inquiry, we will farther look into one of the causes viz. over-leveraging because this specific cause is of importance for our research. A batch of Bankss and investors miscalculated the degree of built-in hazard in the unregulated Collateralized debt duty and Credit Default Swap markets. In this manner Bankss and investors were able to take advantage of low involvement rates and borrow immense amounts of money that they merely could pay back if the lodging market continued to increase in value.[ 5 ]Banks were extremely dependent on future net incomes such as the net incomes they assumed to do of the mortgages, what they did n’t take into consideration is the fact that much of these mortgages carried a batch of hazards and that the net incomes were non verifiable and realized. So they overstated their future net incomes and they massively pursued an optimistic position which led to an exaggeration of their net incomes.

So holding said this we know can see that the accounting conservativism rule was non applied by these Bankss. Having enriched ourselves with this information we were really interested in look intoing why accounting conservativism which dominates as a solid theory for many old ages and is incorporated in the accounting ordinances and in many scientific literature has non been applied in the banking sector.

Our research inquiry therefore states ; What is the ground that the accounting conservativism rule did n’t win in the Dutch banking sector?

This research paper will be particularly of importance and value for practionners, fiscal analysts, accounting pupils and other by and large interested readers. Practioners and scientists like Basu, Watts, Dietrich, Riedl, Mcleay and Raonic did an probe in the relationship between accounting conservativism and for case stock returns, but they do non look into the relationship between accounting conservativism and the effects on the fiscal sector during a recession. Our research is alone because it is the first research of the accounting rule and the effects and relation on the Dutch banking sector during the recent ( 2007-2010/11 ) fiscal crisis. To mensurate the effects of accounting conservativism in relation with the public presentation of the Dutch Bankss during the recession.

Literature reappraisal

In this portion of the paper we are traveling to analyze and present several scientific documents of well-acknowledged practicians. We will specify the accounting conservativism rule and we will see this rule from the point of position of different bookmans and farther more we will discourse the importance of the accounting conservativism rule and its effects on different concern ratios.

Accounting Conservatism

Conservatism is defined as the differential verifiability required to acknowledge net incomes versus losingss. ( Watts,2003 ) Watts stated that conservativism is the asymmetrical confirmation demand for additions and losingss. It means there is a difference in confirmation demands for acknowledging additions and losingss. The asymmetrical confirmation reading is incorporated in the definition of Watts as differential verifiability. Conservatism besides has an utmost signifier this signifier is besides referred to as the traditional conservativism proverb: “ anticipate no net income, but anticipate all losingss ” ( Bliss, 1924 ) This means that a company should non acknowledge net incomes before there is a legal claim to the grosss bring forthing them and that the grosss are verifiable. All losingss should be recognized by the company even when they are n’t wholly verifiable.

Basu interpreted the conservativism proverb as: “ the comptroller ‘s inclination to necessitate a higher grade of confirmation to acknowledge good intelligence as additions than to acknowledge bad intelligence as losingss. He deducted this reading from several accounting constructs, processs and rules. For case, the Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts ( SFAC ) No.2 ( FASB, 1980 ) paragraph 95 provinces: “ if two estimations of sums to be received or paid in the hereafter are about every bit likely, conservativism dictates utilizing the less optimistic estimation ” . He besides mentioned some conservativism illustrations in the Accounting Research Board ( ARB ) . ARB 45 provinces: a company should instantly acknowledge alterations in cost estimations if they result in future expected losingss on long-run contracts, but non if they result in increased future net incomes. Therefore conservativism consequences in a greater chance of timely accounting acknowledgment of bad intelligence than for good intelligence. ( Basu, 1997 )

An alternate definition of accounting conservativism is of Belkaoui ( 1985 ) . He claims that conservativism “ implies that preferably the lowest values of assets and grosss and the highest values of liabilities and disbursals should be reported ” More loosely this means that comptrollers prefer accounting methods that lead to take down reported values for stockholders.

To explicate the roots of the accounting conservativism rule we will discourse the historical developments, theories and accounts of conservativism.

The influence of conservativism on the accounting pattern has been for centuries. Basu argued that this rule significantly influenced the accounting pattern for at least 500 old ages. ( Basu,1997 ) Historical records from trading trades in the fifteenth century show that accounting in mediaeval Europe waws

In our sentiment the traditional accounting conservativism proverb is non suited for our research, in today ‘s economic environment it would to extreme to believe that one pull offing a company could use this traditional rule. The first definition of Watts is the most suited for our research because it is the broadest, simple and it captures in a glimpse the basicss of the accounting conservativism rule.

Literature tabular array:




Object of survey

Sample ( size, state, period )




Conservatism in Accounting Part I: Explanations and Deductions

Ross L. Watts

Examination of alternate accounts for conservativism in accounting and their deductions for accounting regulators.

This paper is based on bing literature ( literature survey ) , therefore there is no trial information included, September 2003

This paper surveies conservatism in accounting and is divided in two parts. The first Part discusses accounts for conservativism and draws deductions for ordinance and standard scene. The paper draws a general catching account for conservativism and predicts that other contracts employed within the house, will besides bring forth conservativism. It offers besides a new statement: that an information position produces conservativism once the information costs of changed managerial behaviour are introduced even without undertaking considerations.

The chief decision of this paper is that conservativism is indispensable. Directors will bias and resound value estimations, because there is a deficiency of verifiability, directors have limited term of offices and limited liability ‘s. If regulators want to better fiscal coverage, they must acknowledge the importance of confirmation, jobs that conservativism ‘s asymmetric demand evolved to turn to and regulators should concentrate on the accounting ‘s nucleus competency.


Conservatism in Accounting Part II: Evidence and Research Opportunities

Ross L. Watts

Summary of the empirical grounds on conservativism, its consistence with alternate accounts, and chances for future research.

This paper is based on bing literature ( literature survey ) , therefore there is no trial information included, September 2003

This is Part II of the literature survey of conservativism in accounting. This portion summarizes the empirical grounds on the being of conservativism. Ross L. Watts elaborates several measurings for conservativism, draws groundss on alternate conservativism accounts and on non-conservatism accounts. Further this article discusses some research chances.

In this paper the author concludes that bing grounds for accounting conservativism is most consistent with the catching and judicial proceeding accounts. Further the author concludes there is a ground to believe that the four accounts for conservativism ( undertaking, judicial proceeding, revenue enhancement and ordinance ) are non independent. Besides conservativism is driven by a concern with overpayment by undertaking parties, tribunals and authorities and this rule will non except net incomes direction or forsaking options.


The conservativism rule and the asymmetric seasonableness of net incomes

Sudipta Basu

Re-examination of the conservativism rule. Probe of the effects of the conservativism rule on reported fiscal statements.

The samples implemented for the trial in this paper consist of all firm-year observations from 1963 -1990 with returns informations on the centre for research in security monetary values NYSE/AMEX monthly files, and with necessary accounting informations on the compustat one-year industrial and research files. ( United States ) .

The paper extends research on the seasonableness of net incomes by indicating out that the timelines is unsymmetrically greater for bad intelligence than for goods intelligence. S. Basu states that in efficient markets, stock returns symmetrically and rapidly reflect all publically available intelligence, so he uses returns to mensurate intelligence. The research of the conservativism rule is based on four anticipations. For the first anticipation: net incomes is more timely or at the same time sensitive in reflecting publically available bad intelligence than good intelligence the research worker used negative and positive unexpected one-year stock returns to proxy for bad intelligence and good intelligence. For the other three anticipations S.Basu used empirical trials.

S. Basu investigated the effects of the conservativism rule on reported fiscal statements and interprets conservativism as ensuing in net incomes reflecting bad intelligence more rapidly than good intelligence. He indicated that the coincident sensitiveness of net incomes to negative returns is two to six times every bit big as the coincident sensitiveness of net incomes to positive returns and he besides showed that positive net incomes alterations tend to prevail whereas negative net incomes alterations show a pronounced inclination to change by reversal. The decision of this paper is that net incomes are timelier in describing publically available bad intelligence about future hard currency flows than good intelligence.


Discussion of “ Conditional and Unconditional Conservatism: Concepts and Modeling ”

Sudipta Basu

Algebraically theoretical account, simulate and chart the effects of assorted factors on the nonlinear earnings-return relation induced by conditional conservativism.



The Timeliness of Income Recognition by European Companies: An analysis of Institutional and Market Complexity

Ivana Raonic, Stuart McLeay, Ioannis Asimakopoulos

Analyze of the asymmetric seasonableness of income acknowledgment of good and bad intelligence in the net incomes of 366 European houses between 1987 and 1999



Discussion of The Timeliness of Income Recognition by European Companies: An analysis of Institutional and Market Complexity

Bill Rees



Asymmetric seasonableness of accounting conservativism

J. R. Dietrich, K. A. Muller III, E. J. Riedl

Research on the relationship between net incomes and stock returns to analyze whether “ bad ” intelligence is incorporated into net incomes on a more timely footing than “ good ” intelligence.



International Differences in the Timeliness, Conservatism, and Classification of Net incomes

Peter F. Pope, Martin Walker aˆ

Analyze of the differences in the seasonableness of income acknowledgment between the U.S. and U.K. GAAP fiscal coverage governments



Econometricss of the Basu Asymmteric Timeliness Coefficient and The Accounting Conservatism. ( Working Paper )

Ray Ball, S. P. Kothari, Valeri Nikolaev

Analysis of the econometrics of the Basu asymmetric seasonableness coefficient. The analysis addresses the conceptual and econometric challenges to the step raised in the recent literature.

First Draft: May 2006, Current version April 2009