Greek Accounting Standards and Debt Covenants. Changes in Contracting


Businesses, organizations, and even more governments are strongly related with information provided by accounting in order for CEO’s or managers and even more members of parliament to make decisions. Financial statements which contain multiple criteria, and how managers or shareholders treat them influence the decisionmaking of organizations and all types of businesses, public and private. Auditing financial statements ensures their reliability and validity. Both lenders and borrowers must choose the right set of debt covenants to minimize risk from their respective perspectives. It is critical to use and select debt covenants in relation to the side of interest. For instance, in past decades, financial covenants based on balance sheet variables are more likely in debt contracting. Nowadays, the trend of choosing a batch of covenants in contracting changed. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between changing the Greek direction and accounting standard setting. Greek accounting standards are moving away from “old-fashioned” book- and record-keeping standards. This was a great change that took place in 2015, and since then, new notions of accounting practice have been introduced. Fair value, net realizable value, present value, cash equivalents, and useful economic life are some concepts that were first used in accounting the process in Greek economy. Changes were massive and everyone involved with accounting, financial statements, and the way they were introduced should change the way they are analyzed. We hypothesized that this significant shift in accounting standard setting reduces the value of analyzing balance sheets in debt contracting. Since 2015, balance sheet-based covenants started to vanish, especially from private debt contracting. We tried to correlate borrowers and their likelihood in using balance sheet-based covenants. The correlation between the change in accounting standard setting and the concurrent change in trend of choosing accounting-based covenants in debt contracting is being investigated. The results are consistent with our hypothesis. A mechanism that separates multiple covenants and correlates them with significant debt characteristics will be an innovative tool for managers and credit institutions, as well as a more definite way of auditing, for instance, by digitalizing it, which will be a great tool for everyone involved in businesses.

Keywords: accounting-based covenants, debt contracting, Greek accounting standards

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