Deviations from the Mandatory Adoption of IFRS in Europe? Why Non-adoption Does Not Mean Non-compliance

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Using Worldscope data, Pownall and Wieczynska (2018) show that there was extensive non-adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by European listed firms in 2005 to 2012. They also suggest that much of this non-adoption is illegal. This would constitute a serious failing by European firms, auditors and regulators. However, in this note we show that there is no non-compliance with mandatory requirements to use IFRS in Germany and the UK in various years including 2012 and 2020. We also find no non-compliance in Austria and Portugal, two countries with less highly regarded enforcement. The reasons for legitimate non-adoption vary by country and by year. Our analysis is based on hand-collected data and it documents that the Worldscope database contains many errors in various fields. Therefore, we provide researchers with a hand-collected database for German and UK firms for the period 2005 to 2020, which can be used to supplement Worldscope. The database includes information on country of incorporation, whether consolidated financial statements are prepared, the accounting standards applied, and whether the firm is listed on an EU-regulated market. We use the database to provide some evidence on voluntary adoption of IFRS.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Early online date9 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2023


  • adoption of IFRS
  • compliance with IFRS
  • EU-regulated markets
  • Worldscope
  • database

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