Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Is IFRS Still on the Way? If So, When?

WebCPA editor-in-chief Micheal Cohn argues that stakeholders in the potential convergence to IFRS are getting antsy and want more certainty in getting to convergence. Having said this, quotes from the article indicate some diversity in views. Strong proponents such as D. J. Gannon of Deloitte and Touche and Aaron Anderson of IBM want to pursue convergence at full speed. Others, such as Samuel DePiazza Jr. of PWC and Talia Griep of Honeywell want to assure that the best possible transparency and quality occur, regardless of what approach that may be. Joyce Joseph-Bell of Standard and Poor's found that IFRS statements appeared to be more transparent.

At this time, I do not oppose IFRS, but I DO believe that the present roadmap is undesirably urgent. (I made a similar argument with co-author Lesley Davidson at a recent SOBIE conference in Florida). Two major issues have to be addressed in my mind before I can endorse IFRS: [1] What are the cost and benefits? Robert Herz of FASB makes an excellent point about the need to determine the impact of IFRS on the U. S. economy, ESPECIALLY in view of the recent recession. By slowing down the roadmap, we get to see the experiences of similar if smaller economies such as Australia, Canada and Mexico. [2] What will reporting standards be for nonpublic private businesses? It is not hard to see a number of reporting bases for accountants: IFRS for the large majority of publicly-traded companies, a slightly simplified U. S. GAAP for larger privately-held businesses, a separately modified U. S. GAAP for nongovernmental not-for-profit organizations and income tax basis/OCBOA for small privately-held business. In this context, IFRS doesn't seem to solve much in the way of standards overload except for the largest of businesses and CPA firms.


Blogger Independent Accountant said...

I oppose IFRS. Why? Because it will give the SEC more "flexibility" in deciding if a registrant's accounting is up to snuff. GAAP is bad enough. IFRS is a complete scam in my opinion.

4:59 PM  

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