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Handley, Karen

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  • Paper Title:  Motives for User Involvement in Standard Setting: Reduced Differential Reporting in Australia
  • Department Affiliation: Accounting and Corporate Governance
  • Supervisors’ Names:
    • Doctor Elaine Evans
    • Doctor Sue Wright


This paper explores the involvement of users and preparers of financial statements in the creation of an Australian standard for Small and Medium-sized Entities (SMEs). 


This is the first study known to the authors that extends to unlisted entities and that interviews writers of comment letters participating in creating a uniquely-Australian accounting standard.  We extend the findings of Georgiou (2004, 2010). 


An online survey was used to poll users and preparers of financial statements.  Members of the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) and comment letter writers were interviewed.     


Non-participation in the standard setting process is a result of perceived adequate representation by professional or industry bodies, and professed inability to change outcomes. Participants favoured comment letters and lobbying via professional and industry groups. Interviews revealed discussions amongst letter writers as well as between letter writers and the AASB. Comment letter writers admitted to overemphasis of particular positions and game behaviour. Roundtables were seen as necessary and positive by comment letter writers and standard setters.

Practical and Social implications: 

This study confirms a variety of methods of participation in standard setting. It affirms the role of professional and industry bodies in the standard setting process, as a counter to apathy and disengagement from the process of users of financial statements. 


Accounting Standards Setting; Lobbying; User Participation