Financial Accounting without a State *
This chapter argues that financial accounting has been frequently mischaracterized as a field of different national practices which have become increasingly and rapidly international in recent years. Rather, accounting norms have evolved over centuries in trans-regional commercial spaces between states, and are more loosely coupled to national ‘cultures’ than is commonly imagined. It is suggested that the rise of so-called ‘national’ level accounting standard setters in the late 20th century marks the origin of self-validating and increasingly autonomous ‘global accounting actors’ of which the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is only one example. Its emergence is largely mis-described as the result of a conflict between ‘national’ and ‘international’ standards, and is better understood as the outcome of a distinctive accounting sub-politics involving small numbers of policy actors operating within and constituting an ‘accounting culture’ which has always been more global than national in character.
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