If the influence of national cultures on the implementation of global standards is not taken into account, the result will be inconsistent implementation at best and outright failure at worst. This is evidenced by a review of the literature in the fields of medicine, peacekeeping, aviation and environmental protection. The experiences in those professions offer insight into possible difficulties with the implementation, beginning in 2010, of international audit and assurance standards by members of the International Federation of Accountants. Some countries may have difficulty with implementation because of the differences between their cultural assumptions and those embodied in the standards to be adopted. It is too soon to know if and where that will happen, especially since the data on first experiences will not begin to be available until 2013. However, cultural-comparison data can be used to foresee which countries may have difficulty with implementation. But if unintended consequences do become evident, it will be important not to assume that the standards and the standard-setting process are defective; it is more likely that practitioners will need help in interpreting the ISAs in light of their local culture. A useful first step would be for standard-setting bodies to identify explicitly the cultural assumptions inherent in the standards they produce. The standard setters can then give that information to those responsible for standards implementation at the practitioner level to help promote consistent application of the standards globally. Read more…

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