In May, IASB member Prabhakar Kalavacherla threatened India by telling a conference in Mumbai “to put it in one sentence, we strongly encourage adoption as against convergence,” suggesting that India could totally contribute to the rule-setting if it will just go ahead and adopt IFRS now. That sort of attitude is hilarious and why watching the IFRS “condorsement” plan getting burped up around the world is so much fun. Really? Adopt first, ask questions later?
India isn’t buying it, although looking to the U.S. and Japan for answers isn’t going to help matters either.
The government is planning to introduce additional changes to global accounting standard, IFRS, to make it more palatable for Indian companies, overriding the international opposition to amendments already made. Such a move will extend the eventual migration by Indian companies to the global standard and also insulate local firms from any short-term capital market shocks that may arise due to erosion in valuations.
However, any changes to the Indian version of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) will take time as the government will initially look at some of the revisions being suggested globally, specially by the developed markets of US and Japan, before finalising the road map, secretary, ministry of corporate affairs D K Mittal told ET on Thursday. “We have to see how IFRS will meet our requirements. Our markets are different, our standards are different,” he said.
Quote of the convergence! “Our markets are different, our standards are different.” I’m sorry, maybe I’m confused on how this convergence thing is supposed to work (entirely possible as I’m not an accountant and therefore not required to understand what’s happening here) but couldn’t each country getting IFRS shoved down its throat say the same? That’s why global economies are (read: were) such a beautiful thing; different markets breed different standards, and market participants have the option to say whether or not they find a particular country’s financial standards appealing. With forced adoption of a single arbitrary standard, determined by an entity with questionable self-interest at work, you take away investors’ ability to put their money where their mouth is.
GAAP has obviously failed. The evaporation of capital in the United States over the last 3 years proves it. But the whole Adopt-or-Else plan isn’t necessarily any better either.
In my humble opinion, it just makes the IASB look desperate and India look awesome. For now.
Accountancy Age reports his latest soundbite at a speech in Washington today, telling “leaders” that while their efforts to converge international accounting standards and U.S. GAAP are admirable, that he and the entire continent of Europe are getting sick of the stalling.
“I appreciate that the US authorities have made progress towards convergence, but in the EU, we are getting impatient.”
Apparently Mr Barnier has had enough with this little dance going on between the FASB and the SEC. The FASB has been punting to the SEC fairly regularly and we’re all aware of the SEC’s tendency for inaction, so maybe Barns figured that a Frenchman calling out Americans on their own turf would help move things along.
European Central Bank Executive Board member Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerel insists that fair value is useless in illiquid (read: dysfunctional or non-existent) markets, putting forth the all-important query “what is the use of marking-to-market when there is no market?” in a Paris speech yesterday.
Tumpel-Gugerel is also a tad concerned that the push for convergence around the globe by 2011 could mean compromised accounting standards. “The ECB strongly opposes a full fair value approach,” she said. “In this context, convergence should not come at the expense of high-quality accounting standards.”
The ECB has taken the financial crisis as a lesson in valuation, guidance, and a deft accounting system that leaves plenty of slack available for adjustments should the need arise in, say, a crisis situation. That’s all well and good but guidance only gets you so far and without a firm commitment to when and how to use fair value around the globe, we can pretty much keep debating this point indefinitely.
Her views on FASB’s fair value approach are not at all subtle. In short, it appears as though the ECB supports convergence but only if the idiotic American ways are better aligned with the IASB’s. “With regard to recent assertions made by the IASB and FASB that convergence is on track, I would like to highlight that we are not so optimistic,” she said. “In this regard, putting in place a reconciliation mechanism that simply discloses figures at amortised cost and fair value for each item on the balance sheet would certainly not achieve the aim of convergence.”
Well snap, guess she told us.
Really, he said that global standards were ‘imperative’ which carries a much more serious connotation and we’d hate to sell Big Jim short:
‘It is imperative that there is one set of financial reporting standards for the world if the quality and comparability of investor information is to be protected.’
And in an amazing coinkydink, that’s what everyone at the G-20 said too:
More, after the jump
In a statement the leaders said they: “call on our international accounting bodies to redouble their efforts to achieve a single set of high quality, global accounting standards within the context of their independent standard setting process, and complete their convergence project by June 2011.”
Since so many big shots were in the Burgh, last week, JT figured he’d just put it out there that his firm was FIRST! to say, “Yeah, we’re down for redoubling our efforts! Whatever that is, we’ll do anything! Don’t know about the rest of you slackers but we’re damn proud to get on this. June 2011? No problem. Am I right people?”
Ernsters? Ready to double down? It’s imperative, you know.
Big Four firm backs G20 accounting stance [Accountancy Age]