Interpretations of Probability Expressions: A Comparison between Standard-Setters and Accountants

Posted: 16 Apr 2000

See all articles by Fawzi Laswad

Fawzi Laswad

Massey University

Yuen Teen Mak

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Accounting

Abstract

This study extends the study by Laswad and Mak (1997) on the interpretation of probability expressions used in accounting standards by New Zealand standard setters, by comparing the interpretations of standard-setters with practicing accountants. The results generally show that the ranking of phrases of probability expressions by accountants is similar to standard-setters. Further, similar to standard-setters, accountants interpret many different probability expressions used in accounting standards as if they denote similar probability levels. This suggests that some probability expressions are redundant. The reduction of probability expressions may facilitate greater consistency in the application of accounting standards and consequently greater comparability in financial reporting. The results also indicate that, similar to standard-setters, there is considerable disagreement among accountants in the interpretation of probability expressions, which suggest that to enhance comparability in financial reporting, guidance in the interpretation of such phrases is needed.

JEL Classification: M41, M44

Suggested Citation

Laswad, Fawzi and Mak, Yuen Teen, Interpretations of Probability Expressions: A Comparison between Standard-Setters and Accountants. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=213245

Fawzi Laswad (Contact Author)

Massey University ( email )

Palmerston North
New Zealand

Yuen Teen Mak

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Accounting ( email )

BIZ2 Building, #03-32
1 Business Link
Singapore 119591
Singapore
+65 68743032 (Phone)
+ 65 67792083 (Fax)

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