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Recalling the Celtic Tiger

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Edited By Eamon Maher, Eugene O'Brien and Brian Lucey

This book looks at various effects, symptoms and consequences of the period in Irish culture known as the Celtic Tiger. It will trace the critical pathway from boom to bust – and up to the current beginnings of a similar, smaller boom – through events, personalities and products. The short entries offer a sense of the lived experience of this seismic period in contemporary Irish society.

While clearly not all aspects of the period could realistically be covered, the book does contain essential information about the central actors, events, themes, and economic trends, which are discussed in a readable and accessible manner. Each entry is linked to the overall Celtic Tiger phenomenon and its immediate aftermath.

The book also provides a comprehensive account of what happened in this period and will be a factual resource for anyone anxious to discover information on the areas most commonly connected to it. All entries are written by experts in the area. The contributors include broadcasters, economists, cultural theorists, sociologists, literary critics, journalists, politicians and writers, each of whom brings particular insights to some aspect of the Celtic Tiger.

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IAS 39 (Neil Dunne)

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Neil Dunne

IAS 39

IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement was the International Accounting Standard most closely associated with the banking crisis. International Accounting Standards (and their contemporary variant, International Financial Reporting Standards), effectively comprise the rules that accountants of large EU companies must follow. Some accounting standards apply to virtually every company (e.g. IAS 7 Statements of Cash Flows), whilst others are more niche (like IAS 41 Agriculture, for example). These standards are issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and reinforce the IASB’s long-standing drive towards global uniformity of accounting.

So what made IAS 39 so culpable? Introduced in 2001, one of IAS 39’s original intentions was to prevent entities from baselessly recognising potential future losses in their accounts, a practice often synonymous with profit-smoothing. Specifically, IAS 39 required banks to follow an ‘incurred loss’ model, which required objective evidence before a loan could be written down, and thus restricted the banks’ ability to provide for future loan losses. Adherence to IAS 39 meant that, towards the end of the Celtic Tiger era, banks were carrying overstated financial assets in their accounts. This deviation from commercial reality severely limited the accounts’ usefulness and predictive value. In addition, although accounting standards are complex at the best of times, IAS 39 was perceived to be overly complicated and laden with inconsistencies. Accordingly, when explaining themselves at the Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis, the Big Four accounting firms took the opportunity...

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