Purpose – This paper aims to examine the compliance of disclosure with the financial accounting standards of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions’ (AAOIFI) related to Islamic financing products by Islamic banks in Bahrain and Qatar. Design/methodology/approach – The study measures compliance using disclosure indexes. The disclosure indexes include the three financial accounting standards of Murabaha, Mudaraba and Musharaka. The data are collected from the annual reports of 24 Islamic banks in Bahrain and Qatar over a period of 2012-2015. Findings – The paper found that Islamic banks in Bahrain and Qatar comply with AAOIFI financial accounting standards related to Murabaha, Mudaraba and Musharaka. However, there was a level of noncompliance in both countries. In addition, it found that the extent of compliance had increased over the 2012- 2015 period. Also, the Murabaha standard had the highest mean of compliance. Moreover, the results showed that the Islamic banks in Qatar tend to have more compliance of overall Murabaha and Mudaraba disclosures compared to the Islamic banks in Bahrain. Research limitations/implications – The findings are preliminary and highlight that the issue is of high interest to Islamic banks and AAOIFI. Hence, it requires a detailed follow-up to form a complete picture that would assist AAOIFI and regulators gear their policies toward better quality disclosure by Islamic financial institutions. Even though the findings are encouraging, future research is recommended to enforce compliance with the AAOIFI financial accounting standards. Originality/value – This is a pioneer empirical study that focuses on the level and trend of compliance with AAOIFI financial accounting standards related to the Islamic financing products of Murabaha, Mudaraba and Musharaka standards, especially in Qatar. Additionally, it is the first study comparing between the only two Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, i.e. Bahrain and Qatar, that mandatory apply the AAOIFI standards.
The Islamic financial system differs from the conventional banking system due to its application of Islamic Shari’ah rules (i.e. Islamic law). The teachings of Islam prohibit products that charge riba (i.e. interest or usury) which conventional banks apply as a cost of advancing credit. In contrast, Islamic finance is based on the idea of profit-risk sharing. Under this model, the Islamic bank undertakes to share profits derived from an investment by a customer as well as potential losses arising from the venture. Islamic banking is continuing its tremendous expansion across the globe with assets reaching up to $1.3tn. After the establishment of the first Islamic bank in Dubai in 1975, Islamic banking increased rapidly and with more than 300 banks spread across more than 70 countries. A large portion of these Islamic banks is located in countries comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The increased expansion has led to the need to establish a regulatory framework to oversee their operations and handle the task of preparing useful standards. To this end, the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) was established in 1991 to prepare accounting, auditing, governance, ethics and Shari’ah standards for Islamic Financial Institutions (IFI). However, little research has investigated the compliance with such standards. The AAOIFI is an Islamic international autonomous not-for-profit body established based on the Agreement of Association which was signed by Islamic financial institutions on 26 February 1990 in Algiers and was registered on 11 March 1991 in the Kingdom of Bahrain (AAOIFI, 2017). AAOIFI’s sole objective is to develop and disseminate accounting and auditing guidelines relevant to IFIs. AAOIFI prepares, promulgates and interprets reviews and amends accounting and auditing standards for IFIs (AAOIFI, 2017). AAOIFI’s organisational structures consist of General Secretariat, Board of trustees, Executive Committee, General Assembly, Shari’ah Board and Accounting and Auditing Standards Board. The organisation has so far published 96 standards and statements including one Financial Accounting Statement (i.e. Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting by Islamic Financial Institutions) and 27 financial accounting standards (FAS), five auditing standards, 54 Shari’ah standards, seven governance standards and two code of ethics standards (AAOIFI, 2013). The AAOIFI accounting standards are mandatory in Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Sudan and Syria (AAOIFI, 2017). Moreover, the AAOIFI accounting standards are either used as a basis of national accounting standards in Indonesia and Pakistan or adopted voluntarily in some countries such as Brunei, Egypt, France, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the UK (AAOIFI, 2017). AAOIFI auditing, governance and ethics standards are adopted by IFIs voluntarily (AAOIFI, 2017). AAOIFI is supported by 202 institutional members from 45 countries (AAOIFI, 2013).