The International Accounting Standards Board thinks it's high time that we all got back to basics. Too much of this non-GAAP nonsense has people thinking they can just throw some numbers around and put labels on 'em. Well, IASB chairman Hans Hoogersvorst, for one, is ready to tighten things up a bit: The IASB, which […]
Hans Hoogervorst doesn’t sound at all passive aggressive here or anything:
What's that you say, Hans? No one wants more liabilities on their balance sheet? "Obviously, this standard is not a very popular one," IASB chief Hans Hoogervorst said in a conference call. "Generally, companies like off-balance-sheet financing" and the standard will put an end to a major part of it, he said. Well, that's […]
Back in November the IASB came up with the idea to start a new cool club called the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum. It was going to include 12 elite members of accounting rule wonkery that would be at the forefront of global financial reporting. There was one major to joining the ASAF, however, and that was […]
Accounting rule convergence is dead. I know it. You know it. Hans Hoogervorst knows it. Everyone has accepted the fact that the SEC managed to tell IFRS supporters to stick their principles-based rules where the sun don't shine in the most passive-aggressive way possible. Yes, the IASB is still coming up with pathetic ideas to […]
Once upon a time, a few people got together and decided that we'd all be better off if businesses worldwide were all using one harmonious set of accounting rules. In 2001, when IASB took over as the main international standard-setting body for accounting rules, it ushered in the era of IFRS to be the gold standard […]
If I didn't know any better, I'd think this story was from 2008. The head of the International Accounting Standards Board said Tuesday it is "very important" for the U.S. to embrace global accounting rules and said he believes a key regulator would soon take a position on whether to adopt them for American companies. […]
This is the fourth installment of our Going Concern freelancer submissions. The following is by Dylan Grey. A little bird has been whispering IFRS in my ear for years…. Discussed at every financial reporting update. Front and center of every annual SEC "Hot Topics" list. Mocked by CFOs across the US. Back in November 2008, […]
“The simple truth is that when you have two independent, highly competent boards, sometimes they will agree with each other, and other times they will not,” he said. “It’s not that one is right and the other wrong; they just reach different conclusions. The same would be true if I were to split my board in two and ask them to consider 10 projects. I doubt each smaller board would reach identical conclusions on all 10 projects, so convergence would require compromises to be made. Convergence therefore does not always result in the highest quality outcome. It has served its purpose, but now it is time to move on. [AT]
The aim is for companies across the world to recognise revenue consistently as part of wider efforts to forge a single set of global acccounting rules to help investors. The core principle that a company must recognise income from contracts when it transfers the goods or services to the customer remains unchanged. But the proposal has been simplified in parts and contains more guidance after several sectors like construction and telecoms raised concerns. “Our proposals will give analysts and investors the confidence that revenue is being presented on a consistent basis, across industries and continents,” IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said in a statement. “We plan to conduct additional outreach with interested parties during the comment period to help people understand the proposed guidance and to listen to any remaining concerns,” said FASB Chairman Leslie Seidman. [Reuters]
If anyone over the SEC needs a little help getting their heads around how to best get on board with IFRS, H-squared has found a prize pupil for you to emulate:
Addressing a conference in Sao Paolo, the former Dutch finance minister used Brazil as a “textbook example” of how best to implement global accounting standards. Hoogervorst […] praised the country’s full adoption and decision not to “tweak” the standards, saying this means global investors are “entirely comfortable” Brazilian companies’ financial statements.
While the world is filled with torment, class warfare, famine, racism, war and uprising, those darn kids at the IASB are still concerned with one thing and one thing only. That one thing, obviously, is the U.S. adoption of IFRS.
Anyone else get the feeling Hans and Co. are getting a tad impatient with our heel dragging?
Piggybacking off the post Caleb was too lazy to write himself yesterday, we hear IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst said in a Boston speech yesterday that adopting IFRS would offer U.S. public companies “the same financial reporting language for both internal management reporting and external financial reporting on a worldwide consolidated basis.” Where this is a benefit for us is entirely unclear to me, but that’s why I’m not chairman of the IASB.
Ol’ Hansy also promised that the U.S. would still play a pivotal role in shaping global accounting rules if we go ahead and trust them and adopt outright now. It is unclear whether that was a threat or not, as it is also unclear if he really thinks we’re that dumb.
This is the IASB chair’s first American speech, and in it he also said that the SEC can serve as a sort of emergency switch should the IASB decide to implement a rule that just won’t work in U.S. markets. “Such endorsement mechanisms provide an important ‘circuit breaker’ if the IASB produced a standard with fundamental problems for the United States,” he told the conference.
“So there is absolutely no danger of importing different enforcement standards from abroad into the United States,” he said. You hear that, kids? Absolutely no danger. Well crap, why haven’t we adopted these fabulous standards already then? It can’t possibly fail, the IASB told us it’s all good!
Hoogervorst said U.S. sovereignty would be protected by the SEC having a final say before any IASB rule is introduced. “Such endorsement mechanisms provide an important ‘circuit breaker’ if the IASB produced a standard with fundamental problems for the United States,” Hoogervorst told an accounting conference. The SEC would remain in full control of enforcement. “So there is absolutely no danger of importing different enforcement standards from abroad into the United States,” the former Dutch finance minister added. [Reuters]
Accounting Today released its Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (free registration required) late yesterday and it seems to be a tad more interesting than in years past. Sure, there are plenty of predictable names and faces in the list but any list that has Dave Albrecht, Paul Caron, and Grover Norquist is okay by me.
That said, it’s still in alphabetical order which may not appropriately present who the influenciest influencers are. I mean does sticking a man with a last name that starts with “N” and ends in “quist” somewhere in the middle of the pack (only a few spots in front of the POTUS) truly show how influential he is? It’s just a question.
ANYWAY, here are some notables that you’ll probably recognize:
Dave Albrecht – Associate Professor at Concordia College, The Summa
C.E. Andrews – President, RSM McGladrey
Paul Caron – TaxProf Blog
Stephen Chipman – CEO, Grant Thornton
James Doty – Chairman, PCAOB
Joe Echevarria – CEO, Deloitte
Michelle Golden – President, Golden Practices
Tom Hood – CEO, Executive Director Maryland Association of CPAs
Hans Hoogervorst – Chairman, IASB
Robert Moritz – Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC
Caleb Newquist – Founding Editor, Going Concern
Grover Norquist – President and Founder, Americans for Tax Reform
Barack Obama – President of the United States
Barry Salzberg – CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Mary Schapiro – Chair, SEC
Doug Shulman – IRS Commissioner
Jim Turley – Global Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young
John Veihmeyer – Chairman and CEO, KPMG
Jack Weisbaum – CEO, BDO
I cherry-picked this list obviously because it’s a bit of a pain to re-type all of them, so don’t hold that against me. Still how two Swedes and two Barrys got mashed together is kind of odd. And on a more personal note, I’d really feel awful if I was the one who took Dennis Nally’s spot. Go check out the full list and discuss at your leisure.
“It is my strong conviction that the momentum behind IFRS is so strong right now it can only be delayed but it cannot be stopped any more,” IASB’s chairman Hans Hoogervorst said.
The United States has an “extremely important” decision to make this year on whether to replace its own Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)standard with IASB rules, Hoogervorst told a webcast meeting of the IASB’s trustees in New York. By next year two thirds of the world’s top 20 economies (G20) will be allowing or requiring local listed companies to use the IFRS accounting rules. [Reuters, Earlier]
In case you thought the fair value debate was limited to the U.S. circa 2008, think again. A rule you probably haven’t heard of (but will likely see a version of once government debt becomes as much of a pain in the ass here as it has been in Europe) called IFRS 9 (which replaces IAS 39) would allow banks to price some government debt on their books at cost, instead of current awful prices.
Apparently the European Union doesn’t like this idea. EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier told a webcast meeting in New York this week “I do not believe this will be the first solution to the problems we face in Europe at the moment,” referring to IFRS 9‘s creative interpretation of “fair value.” Ironically, IFRS 9 accomplishes this feat by eliminating available for sale and held-to-maturity classifications for bonds, leaving only amortized cost and fair value.
IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst insists this plan is really only the suck less option, not some sort of magical accounting trick that will suddenly make Greece solvent and Irish banks healthy. “Under IFRS 9 impairments will still be painful but I am convinced it would be more timely done because the cliff effect is much less severe,” he said at a recent joint meeting of the IASB’s trustees and monitoring board of public officials, including Michel Barnier.
Representatives of large institutional investors told the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday that they had serious qualms about the London-based International Accounting Standards Board replacing the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board as the primary arbiter of accounting rules in this country.
Speaking at an SEC panel focusing on investor views of international financial reporting standards, the representatives roundly supported the goal of establishing a single set of high-quality global financial reporting standards in the United States in the form of IFRS. But they suggested that the IASB, the current promulgator of IFRS, lacks the backbone and outreach capability of FASB — qualities that would be needed for a global system to succeed. [CFO]
In case you forgot, Sir David Tweedie is retiring next week as the head of the IASB. It’s been quite a run for Tweeds and good money says his friends at the Board will send him off in style worthy of a knighted Scotsman (read: getting him blind drunk and some hooliganism). He’s had many accomplishments in his time running the IASB but there’s one goal that will ultimately elude him when he hangs up the eyeshade. That is the dream of converged accounting standards. It certainly has been a noble quest worthy of his accounting “rock star” status but you can’t help but imagine that you might happen across SDT in a pub muttering to himself over a pint about “the one that got away.”
Sir David’s biggest project has been convergence of IASB’s rules with those of America’s Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The two had set a June deadline, timed to coincide with Sir David’s retirement, to iron out their differences. That won’t be met.
But you can’t do it all. So now the task of accounting rule copulation will now fall to Dutchman Hans Hoogevorst but if Sir David is feeling a little like a failure, he should know that there are people out there still think he’s pretty badass since he got the SEC to come to the table:
Sir David should not be too disappointed that convergence is not complete. That the process has come as far as it has—and that America’s Securities and Exchange Commission might decide later this year to adopt IASB’s standards—is something no one could have predicted ten years ago, says Nigel Sleigh-Johnson of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.
So enjoy your retirement, oh knighted one. Your double-entry immortality is secure.
The balladeer of the balance-sheet [The Economist]
Your next IASB chairman, Hans Hoogervorst, already has a few things on his to do list (right after scratching Sir David Tweedie’s name off the door), one of which involves restoring investor confidence by redoing last year’s bank stress tests in Europe since it seems they were not really credible, “One reason for scepticism was that sovereign bonds on the banking book were deemed to retain their full value, despite the fact that many were trading at steep discounts in the market,” he said. “The fact that some Irish banks that had passed the test later turned out to be insolvent only served to reinforce the doubts in the market.”
Doubts? That’s a kind way to put it.
Speaking at the two-day European Commission financial reporting and auditing conference, Hoogervorst also wanted to make sure everyone is clear on who rules the IASB. Despite appearances that rules are made by a handful of influential Europeans who like to play with accounting regs, he insisted the IASB is a multi-national group in which everyone gets a say. Or rather, he insisted that he’ll be trying to make sure the IASB is perceived as such, “It’s very important that we develop a governance structure that is more inclusive. At all costs we should avoid the perception that IFRS is dominated by a small group of nations,” he said. He did not seem to clarify if he was more worried about the actual structure of the IASB or just the appearance, nor did he mention how many U.S. delegates will have at the IASB’S table if we were to stop dragging our feet and just adopt already.
While auditors are taking a lot of heat for failing to catch just how bad off European banks were, H-squared doesn’t seem to feel they deserve so much criticism as they were simply following the rules. “How critical will auditors be when they see that regulators consider that severely discounted securities carry no risk?” he asked, obviously rhetorically.
Also in attendance at the conference, Federal Reserve senior associate director and chief accountant Arthur Lindo, who is hopeful that we here on this side of the pond will “move diligently towards some form of IFRS in the near future.” What Lindo did not say was whether or not the Fed would also adopt these rules or continue to use their freakish hybrid of GAAP and government accounting that they make up each and every year. Perhaps convergence will mean throwing in some IFRS into their 300+ page financial accounting manual.
Looks like Hans is going to have his hands full for the foreseeable future. Veel geluk met dat!
EC proposes mandatory rotation of auditors [Accountancy Age]
“The European Commission is proposing a radical restructure of the audit industry including a multinational regulator, mandatory rotation and caps on advisory fees.
Some proposals, audit to draw up living wills or a detailed “long form report” for regulators or hive off their audit arms, under the measures raised in a new green paper”
18,000 Tagging Errors in XBRL Filings So Far [CFO]
“Companies that have filed data-tagged quarterly and annual reports appear to be handling the task fairly well, even as the overall number of errors continues to pile up.
About 500 of the largest companies were required to use XBRL, or eXtensible Business Reporting Language, to tag data in their financial statements for periods ending on or after June 15, 2009. As of June 15 of this year, approximately 900 more companies had to do so, and the first group of filers additionally had to tag all amounts and tables in their financial-statement footnotes.”
IASB a tightrope walk for Hans Hoogervorst [FT]
“The appointment of Hans Hoogervorst, 54, as chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board raises two big questions
First, does it matter that he is not an accountant? Second, will his elevation lessen the likelihood that the US will adopt the IASB’s IFRS accounting rules in place of its own?
The lack of professional qualifications were not a concern for Michael Izza, chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
‘I don’t think that it is an issue,’ he said on Tuesday, citing the simultaneous appointment of Ian Mackintosh – a veteran accounting standards-setter with enviable professional credentials – in a supporting role as IASB vice-chairman.”
Some IRS servers down during crucial filing week [AP]
Move along, nothing to see here.
Team Paladino’s Roger a ‘dodger’ [NYP]
“Roger Stone, a key adviser to Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, owes Uncle Sam more than $400,000 in unpaid taxes, The Post has found.
The Internal Revenue Service filed a $405,035 lien for unpaid income taxes against the consultant — one of politics’ most notorious dirty tricksters — and his wife, Nydia, last fall in Dade County Circuit Court in Florida, records show.
The debt makes Stone the second high-profile Paladino adviser to run afoul of the taxman. Paladino’s campaign manager, Stone protégé Michael Caputo, recently admitted to a federal tax debt topping $52,000, although he says he’s paid back all but $9,302.”
Rand Paul supports replacing income tax with higher sales tax, eliminating IRS [LCJ]
“Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul said Tuesday the federal tax code is a ‘disaster,’ and he wants to replace the income tax with a 23 percent sales tax on goods and services.
Paul said he supports changing the federal tax code to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service and would vote to repeal the 16th Amendment that created the federal income tax.
‘The federal tax code is a disaster no one would come up with if we were starting from scratch,’ Paul said in a written statement distributed by an anti-tax group and verified by Paul’s campaign. ‘I support making taxes flatter and simpler. I would vote for the FairTax to get rid of the 16th Amendment, the IRS and a lot of the control the federal government exerts over us.’
Paul refused to answer questions on the issue during a campaign stop in Louisville Tuesday afternoon. At a previous stop in La Grange, he told reporters he’d also like to see the U.S. Department of Education eliminated.”
The Year of Magical Thinking [TaxVox]
“California is just always in a budget mess. Indeed, the state has faced operating shortfalls – or gaps between inflows and outflows – in every year since 2002.
But this year, it would seem that state lawmakers and outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have really outdone themselves. They busted through last year’s tardiness record by enacting a budget 100 days into the new fiscal year. Like last year, they balanced the books – but with a combination of spit and polish and pixie dust. ”