A comparative study of the accounting systems of five countries in East and Southeast Asia

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The study is designed to enhance an understanding of the accounting systems in Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. The stable social structure, steady political progress, and rapid economic development in the five countries provide a fertile ground for the development of their accounting systems.

In the five countries, sufficient statutory and nonstatutory regulations that upgrade quality of accountants and improve financial disclosure by businesses exist. The demand for accountants exceeds their supply throughout the five countries. The accounting profession is prosperous and thriving. Although the five accounting systems still exhibit some differences in ünancial reporting, they are all moving toward more financial disclosure and increasing harmonization of accounting standards.

The five countries have growing accounting influence on their neighboring Asian countries because their systems tend to be emulated by these neighbors due to their economic achievements. The accounting systems in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore can be considered to belong to one category owing to their common British tradition. However, because many American-educated students of the five countries with accounting majors have returned to their home countries, the impact of the American accounting system on the five accounting systems is on the rise. The study also shows that the five accounting systems can benefit from each other’s experiences.