The International Financial Reporting Standards and Firm Performance: A Systematic Review

Wafaa Salah


This study reviews the accounting literature which investigates the effects of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) on firms’ financial performance to answer a debating question of how effective are the accounting standards in affecting financial performance and to provide guidance for future studies. The focus of the review is three primary streams, first, reasons and evidence of differences between countries in accounting practices; second, theories justifying the transition from local Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to IFRS; Third, the effect of accounting standards on firms’ financial performance regarding three broad groups: (1) Common law countries (2) Civil law countries, and (3) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region countries affected by both sharia law and civil law. The review demonstrates that the transition from local GAAP to IFRS has been successful in affecting firms’ financial performance measures in less shareholder-oriented civil law and MENA region countries. This was attributed to the IFRS fair value orientation, which causes volatility in the statement of financial position and financial performance figures. These impacts, however, usually vary between countries, depending on the pre-transition differences between local GAAP and IFRS. The more the difference, the more volatile the financial performance measures, particularly the profitability ratios. This review’s findings have implications for other jurisdictions, particularly developing countries, where IFRS adoption is already underway. In addition, managers, investors, practitioners, and standard setters can use this review to identify the factors that have been found to influence firm performance, especially in a globalized economy that is increasingly cross-listed.

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Applied Finance and Accounting (AFA)        

ISSN 2374-2410(Print)           ISSN 2374-2429(Online)

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