Empirical study about the effects of the application of IAS 32 in Cooperatives

Ramon Bastida, Lluís Carreras


Purpose: The application of IAS 32 in co-operatives has generated an important controversy in recent years. Until now, various works have tried to predict the possible effects of its application. This paper intends to analyze the impact of the first application of IAS 32 on the co-operative sector.

Design/methodology/approach: To perform this analysis, a sample of 98 cooperatives has been selected, and a comparative analysis has been performed on their financial information presented before and after the application of IAS 32, to determine the existing differences.  We used the Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test to contrast if these differences are significant. We also used the U-Mann Whitney Test to contrast if there are significant differences in the relative impact of applying IAS 32 between various groups of cooperatives. Finally, we performed an analysis of the effects of the IAS 32 application on the economic and financial situation of the cooperatives, and the evolution of its intangible assets, using techniques of financial statements analysis.

Findings and value: The results obtained confirm that the application of IAS 32 caused significant differences in some financial components of the balance sheet and the profit and loss account, as well as in the ratios analyzed. The differences are present in a reduction in the level of capitalization and an increase in the indebtedness of the co-operatives, as well as a general worsening of economic ratios of solvency and financial autonomy.

Research limitations: It is important to note that this study has been done with a sample of audited cooperatives. Therefore, the results must be interpreted in the context of big-sized cooperatives. Also we want to note that we have made a comparative analysis of financial statements for 2011 and 2010. This has allowed us to know the differences in the financial information of the cooperative before and after applying IAS 32. Although some of these differences, could also be caused by other factors such as the economic situation, changes in the application of accounting standards, etc...

Originality: We believe it is the right time to do this research because, since 2011, all Spanish cooperatives must apply IAS 32. As far we know, there are no other empirical studies with cooperatives that had applied IAS 32 in their financial statements. The results of this research can be useful for different stakeholders. First, because the agencies issuing accounting standards can determine the scope of IAS 32 in the cooperatives and could bring some improvements to the content of the standard. Second, because the own cooperatives, federations, confederations and other cooperative organizations have information on the economic impact of the first application of IAS 32 and can make their own assessments. And third, because financial institutions, auditors and cooperative consultants and other stakeholders have information about changes in the financial statement of cooperatives, and can take them into account before taking decisions.


cooperatives, equity, share capital, IAS 32, solvency, effects of accounting standards, financial information, ratios

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3926/ic.450

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2023

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience