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The paper “Financialization as strategy: Accounting for inter-organizational value creation in the European real estate industry”, co-authored with Sebastian Botzem and published in Accounting, Organizations and Society, investigates an in-depth case study of a European real estate firm and its transnational relations with professional service firms, which together enable and drive a financialized business model. The key findings of our study can be summarized as follows:

  • Financialized business models, which are based upon and tailor-made to suit financial market logics, emerge in tight collaboration between real estate firms and professional service firms such as auditors, (investment) banks, notaries, attorneys and realtors, each of which profits from rising real estate prices. Because rising prices allow revaluating and refinancing earlier assets acquisitions, providing the firm with additional funds for further acquisitions without the need to selling real estate.
  • Management and structuring fees are key for the functioning and also the danger of financialized business models, which depend on rising price levels in real estate. Most of the fees are paid out to the various actors involved in real estate transactions already at the time the loans are awarded. Contrary to interest payments, which are distributed over the whole loan period, management and structuring fees increase profits – and thus also bonus payments – already in the year a transaction is made.
  • Fees not only allow premature distribution of unrealized profits but also transfer of profits into offshore tax havens: structuring fees are calculated as (tax deductible) onshore expenses and distributed as (nearly tax-exempt) offshore profits.

The full text of the article is available at the journal’s website. Please send me an e-mail in case you are interested but your institution does not provide access to the journal.

This is a slightly adapted crosspost from the osconjunction blog.

(leonhard)

There is great ambiguity on the true representation of the ‘’adoption’’ of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). What constitutes the ‘’adoption’’ of IFRS? At what point can a country, company or entity claim to have adopted IFRS? What is the best measure for IFRS adoption?

International diffusion literature and transnational governance literature provides insights as to the point of departure of how global norms are translated into local laws. It suggests that laws, norms, ideas or global regulations when diffusing turn to be reshaped and edited as they are transformed into local practices. To be exact, actors translate ideas, recombine new, externally given elements and old locally given ones to form local laws. Scholars in this arena argue that, in this context, never can we suggest that passive adoption of global standards has taken place. Yet, in many other contexts, actors at both the local level and the transnational level have tended to refer to such process as ‘adoption’ as opposed to a reflection of the variant of the law, idea or norm so implemented. In many cases, only portions of the diffused law or standards are implemented. Nevertheless, actors often refer to such as adoption as opposed to a modification of the diffused law. At other times, different actors refer to the modification of the diffused law as the adaptation of the law. This ambiguity so created has led to mixed results when looking into the idea of International Financial Reporting Standards.

In the global accountancy arena there have been several calls for the world to embrace the idea of a single global high quality accounting standard- thus IFRS. These calls have been stronger following the recent financial crisis as the world continues to pursue globalization strategies and capital flows across borders became even more pronounced. In this direction, accounting standard setters have been working to design high quality accounting standards that is applicable by nearly every country irrespective of the unique economic and cultural conditions that confront these entirely diverse countries and continents. These standards promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has however, been applied in different ways than that put forth by the global accounting standard setter (IASB). In this blog entry, it is my aim to try to provide some lines of reasoning on the true meaning of IFRS adoption. I do not claim that this is the first of such arguments. However, it is my claim that global standard setters, local actors responsible for the implementation of IFRSs have often referred to entirely different versions of IFRSs when referring to IFRS adoption. If indeed IFRSs were adopted, we should expect a single version of the standard in all the jurisdictions that claim to have adopted the standards.

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The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
July 2017
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