The Impact of Accounting Information in the Libyan Economy: A Qualitative Case Study Approach
Bubaker F. Shareia, Helen Irvine

Purpose- This paper highlights the extent to which Libya’s historical background has affected the role of accounting, illustrating the usefulness of accounting history both in understanding past practice and in setting a course for the future. Design/methodology/approach- The study is based on a literature review and archival research, reinforced by a qualitative case study comprised of interviews, attendance at meetings and a study of internal documents. Findings- Libya moved to a planned economy in 1977, resulting in a restricted role for accounting, as evidenced in the case of the Industry Secretariat (IS). Accounting’s role was limited to fulfilling government reporting objectives rather than being used for decision making. Increasingly, recognition is being given to the importance of accounting information in assisting Libya to meet its economic goals. Research Limitation/implications- This study focuses on one case study, which does limit its generalisability. However, it also suggests fruitful research areas in considering the historic factors which have determined accounting’s role in developing and planned economies. Practical implications- By providing insights about historic factors which have determined the use of accounting in a planned economy, this study has implications for similar economies as they move towards a more globalised mode of operations which enhance the role of accounting in meeting economic development needs. Originality/value- If developing countries are to harness the potential of accounting to aid in the achievement of their development plans, the historic and political setting in which accounting has been conducted need to be understood.

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