The History of Accounting Standards in New Zealand: An Evaluation of the Role of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Professions are characterised by the services they provide and in accounting this includes standard setting. The accounting profession became increasingly involved in the regulation of external financial reporting during the twentieth century by setting standards of accounting practice for its members and entity stakeholders. This narrative analysis of the history of accounting standards in New Zealand focuses on why the accounting profession in New Zealand, as elsewhere in the English-speaking world, assumed the responsibility to draft accounting standards. It argues that accountants did so to maintain their professional status. The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants was instrumental in creating accounting standards in New Zealand. Cautious to begin with, the Institute soon became a progressive and innovative standard setter, not only developing a conceptual framework for New Zealand standards but also making the standards sector neutral. The Institute retained control of the drafting of accounting standards even when, as happened in the latter decades of the twentieth century, the New Zealand Government became more involved in the standard setting process. Recent changes in the standard setting process, however, such as the development and use of international accounting standards and the creation of statutory bodies to draft and authorise standards raise questions about the accounting profession’s continuing use of standard setting as a mechanism for maintaining professional reputation.