Comprehensive Income Presentation According to IAS 1 in Italy and in the United Kingdom: A Comparison of Preparers’ Opinions

Barbara Falzago, Tiziana De Cristofaro


Studies investigating the reasons behind corporate choices on the format of their Comprehensive Income Statement (CIS) have so far relied on research tools other than surveys and interviews, neglecting direct analysis. Our aim was to investigate the reasons behind CIS format preferences in European countries with different accounting cultures; therefore, we researched Italian and British listed companies offering non-financial services and the reasons for their preferences using a survey-based approach. Our findings show that: (i) preparers deem the Comprehensive Income a performance measure mainly useful to ‘financial’ stakeholders; (ii) the two-statement format and its stability prevail; (iii) the main reasons driving format choices are easy reading and interest in Profit and Loss (P/L) if the preference is for two statements, and simplicity for readers and preparers in the case of one statement; (iv) Other Comprehensive Income related reasons are the least important for format choices; (v) while British preparers focus on their interest in P/L (two statements) or easy reading (one statement) as the ‘bottom line’ determining their choice, Italian preparers focus on easy reading only in case of one statement, while also deeming important their interest in P/L in case of two statements; (vi) British preparers emphasize the easy preparation of financial statements more than their Italian counterparts. Hence, despite some differences, the two countries are aligned in considering reader-oriented reasons in their format choice. This means that, contrary to what could be reasonably expected, different accounting cultures can choose the same CIS format because of the same reasons.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Barbara Falzago, Tiziana De Cristofaro

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International Journal of Accounting and Financial Reporting  ISSN 2162-3082

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