Accounting Change in Norway

Posted: 17 Oct 2003

See all articles by David J. A. Alexander

David J. A. Alexander

University of Birmingham Business School

Hans R. Schwencke

Norwegian School of Management (BI)


During the last twenty years, a change from a Continental towards what can broadly be characterised as an Anglo-Saxon perspective of accounting has taken place in Norway. This paper discusses whether the new Norwegian Accounting Act of 1998 and the accounting standards issued by the Norwegian Standard setting body represent a further focus on the Anglo-Saxon perspective. Important parts of Norwegian accounting regulation, particularly the Norwegian Conceptual Framework, are highlighted and compared with the positions of European (EC Accounting Directives) and international (IASB) accounting. The findings indicate that the Anglo-Saxon perspective of accounting appears to be strengthened by the new Norwegian law. Even if the findings indicate that the IAS solutions are generally accepted under the new regulation, the flexibility of the regulation seems to indicate that other solutions are accepted as well. These "specific Norwegian" accounting solutions may generally lead to balance sheets which are less prudent than the balance sheets set up under IAS. If one accepts that a characteristic of Anglo-Saxon accounting is that it is, historically, generally less prudent than Continental European accounting, it can indeed be concluded that Norwegian financial reporting has become more Anglo-Saxon than Anglo-Saxon countries in general. One factor seems to weaken this conclusion: Norway does not allow the revaluation of fixed assets.

JEL Classification: M41, M44, M47

Suggested Citation

Alexander, David J. A. and Schwencke, Hans R., Accounting Change in Norway. European Accounting Review, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 549-566, 2003, Available at SSRN:

David J. A. Alexander

University of Birmingham Business School ( email )

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom

Hans R. Schwencke (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Management (BI) ( email )

P.O. Box 580
N-1302 Sandvika

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