Credit to r/accounting, who continues to be hot on the accounting-themed license plate beat. If you're a GC amateur archivist, then you know this is not the first vanity plate from Virginia we've featured. These Old Diminoners do like them for some reason. Now that you've taken this in, what do we like best about […]
This week, the AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments is going down in Washington and unfortunately I am missing it this year as I'm due in Dallas this week for AccountingWEB Live which is exponentially more exciting (or something). Today, SEC Chief Accountant Jim Schnurr reiterated the commission's commitment to pussyfooting around any […]
In remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, SEC Chief Accountant Jim Schnurr floated a fourth, mysterious alternative to use of IFRS in the U.S. FEI reports: Schnurr described three possible alternative actions with respect to the use of IFRS by U.S. public companies that have been considered in that past: “Turning the […]
The great thing about speeches these days is that they generally live in perpetuity on the Internet, even if the speech-makers would hope that we have forgotten them. Oh, you wish. Today's Throwback Thursday comes from deep in former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox's closet. Made in March of 2007, over a year before the SEC […]
"The quality of financial information produced by IFRS is very high, thanks to the work of the IASB, but also to the convergence project with the United States. And a decade of use by both advanced and developing economies has shown that our mission of a s ingle set of high global accounting standards is […]
You know, I have to give it to these guys, they are nothing if not persistent. They are like that lady who is always calling me to talk about my credit card interest rates; no matter how many times I cuss her out, hang up on her, threaten to report her to the pretend federal […]
Funny that the IASB and FASB working together on a new lease accounting standard was totally kumbaya up until recently, when everything fell apart and both sides realized this convergadoption thing is totally never going to happen. Too bad, joining forces on revenue recognition made it seem so likely despite the fact that everyone including […]
Where exactly has the Congressional Caucus on CPAs and Accountants been all this time? The SEC has only been dragging its heels on convergadoption since, like, the beginning of time or at least 2008, which might as well be the beginning of time as far as we are concerned. Now, these guys — who, in […]
The IASB has been frustrated with heel-dragging on this side of the pond for as long as the U.S. has been pretending to work toward adopting international financial reporting standards. Despite the fact that only a few short weeks ago, we thought progress on shared revenue recognition rules meant promise for convergadoption. At that time, […]
Before we talk about Chris Cox's recent comments on adoption of international standards in the U.S., allow us to look back. After all, you will recall Cox was the one pushing for them years ago when he was still chairman of the SEC. Let's see what he said at an SEC Open Meeting in August […]
The explanation is pure gold, really. I will have to review my tape on all SEC Chief Accountant Paul Beswick said this morning from this conference but according to the Journal of Accountancy, he said this: Rule-making duties related to federal legislation have prevented the SEC from devoting time to deciding on the future of […]
James Kroeker, 44, will be a vice chairman of the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, the board's parent organization, the Financial Accounting Foundation said in a statement on Wednesday. Kroeker is known for handling difficult policy decisions during the 2008-2009 financial crisis and will face projects that have been slowed by disagreements between board members and […]
I could watch this all day. GIFSoup
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 […]
Back in November, the IASB threw out this Accounting Standards Advisory Forum idea that would allow a dozen national rulemaking bodies to get together and talk fancy about debits and credits. An accounting cool club, if you will. There was one small catch — anyone in the club had to sign on as supporters of […]
We don't have an official headcount for this particular IFRS rally, but it's our understanding that at least one person's attendance was a complete coincidence. I hope this doesn't affect a future FASB fellowship opportunity.
This morning we learned that the ICAEW gave up, refusing to go along with the lie that the IASB has been telling itself all this time — "They'll call. They'll realize that they've been wasting their time with U.S. GAAP all this time and they'll call." Those chartered accountants in England and Wales simply […]
I know. What the hell? Isn't IFRS a predetermined given like Avengers 2 and Kardashian divorces? IFRS is tested on the CPA exam. The SEC already accepts IFRS in certain circumstances. For years we've heard about the Norwalk Agreement, the SEC roadmap, and FASB convergence or adoption or endorsement (or as it's more commonly known […]
When a supporter of IFRS thinks about the SEC and how they've managed to successfully stall on making anything that closely resembles a decision about the future of financial reporting in the United States, it probably causes (s)he to fly into a rage that can only be abated by watching a live puppy cam for […]
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 […]
The foot-dragging by the SEC over IFRS is a sight to behold. At some point in time – the Triassic Period, or thereabouts – the G20 requested "key global accounting standards bodies [to] work intensively toward the objective of creating a single high-quality global standard." And yet on Friday, the SEC served up a steaming pile of […]
Cynthia Fornelli & Co. appreciate the effort by the SEC but would have appreciated a little bit of cuddling: “The SEC staff is to be commended for completing its Work Plan on international financial reporting standards (IFRS). While staff recommendations of specific approaches or dates for the possible incorporation of IFRS into the U.S. financial reporting […]
Nothing like dropping this on everyone at 6 pm. On a Friday. In the middle of July. Half of the people that care about this thing are on vacation and the other half left at three o'clock. That's the SEC for ya. Have a read over the weekend and we'll debrief (if necessary) on Monday. […]
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 Grant Thornton CEO tells Accounting Today he doesn't have any "inside information"; you're just going to have to trust him. “My sense is that the SEC is getting closer to a position,” he said during an interview with the Accounting Today staff on Tuesday. “I don’t have any inside information. This isn’t based on […]
SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker is "hopeful" that the SEC can figure something out re: IFRS in the coming months but if you're a controller/CFO type at a small company who thought that this wasn't going to be your problem, Jim has news for you: He downplayed the notion of smaller firms being able to […]
A recommendation on whether U.S. companies should switch to international accounting rules will take a few more months, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s chief accountant said Monday. The SEC’s staff had been expected to make a recommendation by year-end on whether U.S. companies should adopt the global rules, known as International Financial Reporting Standards. But the staff needs “a few additional months” to complete its work, SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker said. [WSJ]
“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]
In a November 15 letter to the SEC, FAF chairman John J. Brennan wrote that reducing FASB’s role in setting U.S. financial reporting standards “may weaken the positive leverage that U.S. GAAP and U.S. standard setting have provided to improving accounting standards for investors in the world’s most robust and transparent capital markets.” The FAF also disputed the SEC staff’s proposed goal of achieving one set of global accounting standards. Instead, the organization feels that “a more practical goal for the foreseeable future is to achieve highly comparable (but not necessarily identical) financial reporting standards among the most developed capital markets that are based on a common set of international standards.” [CFO]
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.
Now, let’s keep in mind he said this at an “IFRS and Emerging Market” meeting in Lagos, and meant it in regards to African companies.
Retired IASB board member Bob Garnett said for any country seeking membership of G20, becoming IFRS compliant is a must. He also said African companies will need to work together in regional groups to have more weight as they will not gain necessary influence on their own because they do not have the IFRS track record yet.
The pre-workshop meeting at which Garnett made these comments was organized by Ernst and Young (“a leading voice in IFRS converstion,” according to Nigerian publication The Nation).
Remember it was only days ago that the IASB’s fearless fish-loving leader Hans Hoogervorst was in Boston assuring U.S. regulators they’d have a say in IFRS rules if they’d just hurry up and adopt already. No mention was made about kicking us out of G20 if we don’t embrace IFRS fully and soon.
Anyone else smelling the distinct aroma of desperation?
Also last week at the Boston conference, AICPA CEO Barry Melancon said the SEC should allow U.S. companies to use IFRS if they want “to level the playing field with their international competitors.”
IFRS cheerleading sessions are taking place all around the world at this point, and it’s only a matter of time before the SEC will finally be forced to commit to a plan and adopt. Or else?
Global Reporting Standards are gaining popularity among investors and finance executives, according to a new report by ACCA. Around 170 senior executives and investors were questioned. More than 40% said international financial reporting standards improve access to capital, while around 25% believe the global standards have lowered capital costs. ACCA chief executive Helen Brand said: “Growing support amongst CFOs and investors for [IFRS] must be considered carefully” by US regulator the SEC as it debates converging US GAAP with international standards. “We believe a positive answer from the SEC would give a tremendous boost to the cause of financial reporting and more importantly the world economy.” [Accountancy Age, Earlier]
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]
Count IASB Vice Chairman Ian Mackintosh as one.
Ian Mackintosh called the IASB a success story, saying global standards are now accepted in more than 120 countries and high-profile non-signer the US will make a decision later this year.
Investors: IFRS unfit for purpose [Accountancy Age]
Lately, it feels like a lot of you are trying to jump ship, rally against “The Man” or trap a firm into poaching you like a 19-year-old actress catches a predator. Maybe you guys have always been like that and it only feels like it’s happening more often now that we email each other about it but I’m sensing a pattern here.
Anyway, there are a few things you can do (and a couple you absolutely shouldn’t) that can help you on that road. Maybe these are obvious to you; if so, congratulations. Let’s just go over them again anyway, not everyone is as good at this as you.
1. Learn IFRS. Or at least have a baseline knowledge extensive enough to fake it when you have to talk to people who actually care and/or know more than you. What this means is that you can either take a class, some CPE, maybe get a “free” masters on your firm’s dime or read a damn book. Whatever you do, remember that unless you are at an IFRS conference, chances are you don’t have to be an expert on the matter, just knowledgeable enough to appear as though you have some idea what you are talking about. If you have the opportunity to actually work on IFRS financial statements at work, do it. It’ll be an awesome item on your resume.
2. Don’t get a useless degree. “Useless” is, of course, defined by how far you want to go and where. Please take inventory of your personal situation to define “useless degree” for your own circumstances. For some of you, this is a MAcc. For some, it is an MBA from a for-profit. For others, it is a bachelors in philosophy. Whatever it is, avoid it at all costs, even if you can afford it. Get by on your merits and don’t waste your time pursuing education you don’t need. If you’re that bored, find a hobby.
3. Learn how to play the game. You can’t negotiate a better salary if you are spending half the day on the Internet interrogating strangers about their salaries in our comment section. We don’t care either way but if you are trying to elbow your way into a better salary, you may have to actually try to set yourself apart from your slacker colleagues.
4. Pass the CPA exam. Before some troll shows up and asks me why I haven’t done #4, I’m not trying to market myself as a CPA, writing about this and helping actual CPAs have a single “water cooler” to sit around is much more fulfilling. For people who actually want to work in this industry, this one is pretty necessary. If you actually focus on getting it done sooner rather than later, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain later down the road. As for me, I’m sure I’ll be deflecting this same troll 5 years from now when you’re making way more money than I am writing these articles. Feel free to rub it in.
5. Know your enemy. Some of you are vicious, money-grubbing pricks and I really love that about you. If you believe it when partners say “you really have potential” and tossed a few extra back at your recruiting events to “loosen up a bit,” you’re going to have to understand what it is you want and how best to get it. For some of you, more money is enough until you want more money after that. For others, you just want to experience the thrill of being wanted by several firms at once. Whatever your vice, you need to analyze your own strengths and weaknesses before you try to get three firms to bitchfight over who gets to have you. You can’t negotiate if you’re delusional about what you offer to any of them.
“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]
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]
If W. Anderson Bishop wanted to sound like a person who is refusing to adopt a different system of measurement because A) it was developed outside the United States B) doing things the easy way is dumb or C) he’s a crusty old fart, he has succeed admirably.
“We didn’t join the metric system when everybody else did,” says W. Anderson Bishop, [Hallador Energy Co.’s] chief financial officer. U.S. accounting rules are “the gold standard, and why would we want to lower our standards just to make the rest of the world happy?”
On the day of Sir David Tweedie’s retirement, no less.
Japan is considering postponing the mandatory introduction of global accounting standards for all listed companies beyond the original target date of 2015, amid strong opposition to the change from the country’s business community. Japan’s financial services minister, Shozaburo Jimi, said Thursday at a Business Accounting Council meeting, hosted by the Financial Services Agency, that making Japanese companies adopt the rule—known as the International Financial Reporting Standard—within a few years could be a big burden and costly for businesses. “If Japanese firms are required to move to IFRS, we will need enough time, five to seven years, for preparation,” Mr. Jimi said, adding that discussions over the matter will take time.
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.
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]
Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s annual CFO Network meeting in Washington D.C., Schapiro readily admitted that there isn’t a big push from either multinationals or shareholders to move to international financial reporting standards.
In response to a question from Bank of America’s CFO, Chuck Noski, Schapiro said, “We have not heard from a lot of shareholders that we have to go (to IFRS). We’ve heard the contrary… ‘Why would we take this step toward international accounting standards?’” [CFOJ]
The International Accounting Standards Board is none-too-pleased that India has retreated from plans to fully adopt International Financial Reporting Standards this year and is a making a public push to get the country back on track. A failure to persuade India on the issue would raise serious questions about how successful IASB can be in convincing other major economies, including the U.S., China and Japan, to make a full switch. “To put it in one sentence, we strongly encourage adoption as against convergence,” IASB member Prabhakar Kalavacherla said at a conference in Mumbai last week, according to a copy of his speech, where he urged India to take a bigger role in international standard setting to address its concerns. [CFO Journal]
‘Cause there’s gonna be a roundtable.
The Securities and Exchange Commission staff announced today that it will sponsor a roundtable in July to discuss benefits or challenges in potentially incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into the financial reporting system for U.S. issuers.
The July 7 event will feature three panels representing investors, smaller public companies, and regulators. The panel discussions will focus on topics such as investor understanding of IFRS and the impact on smaller public companies and on the regulatory environment of incorporating IFRS.
“We must carefully consider and deliberate whether incorporating IFRS into our financial reporting system is in the best interest of U.S. investors and markets,” said SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker. “This roundtable will provide an excellent opportunity for investors, preparers, and regulators to provide the SEC staff with valuable information that will help the Commission in its ongoing consideration of incorporating IFRS.”
See you there. If you manage to recover from your July 4th meat sweats, that is.
He may be on his way out the door but still IASB chair David “that’s Sir David to you” Tweedie is still sick of all our heel-dragging on IFRS in the U.S. He hasn’t gone so far as to say we’ll be left in the capital market dust if we don’t adopt tomorrow but he’s clearly fed up with our procrastination.
If they put off a commitment to international financial reporting standards beyond 2011, U.S. accounting rulemakers and standard-setters would impose “unnecessary costs and risks on U.S. companies,” Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, said Wednesday at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce gathering on the future of financial reporting.
The major risks are competitive ones, said Tweedie. U.S.-based multinationals already must fill numerous sets of accounting books. Many must file their financials under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles even as they report on the activities of their overseas subsidiaries under IFRS or the standards crafted by individual nations, he pointed out. At the same time, their foreign competitors can use IFRS for all purposes, even for filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he added.
As is, the transition to IFRS is estimated to cost American companies $35 million per year (remember 3 years of restatements will be required). We’re not sure if he has access to different estimates that somehow make qualified IFRS monkey restatements more expensive in 2012 and beyond than they would be by the end of this year but it seems painfully clear that he means business.
I’m not sure if he missed the memo but we don’t seem as enthusiastic about convergence as we did when we delayed the release of a roadmap in 2008. Three years later, we don’t appear to be any more prepared for the transition than we were then and still have three (or make that four) more good years to drag our heels according to recent statements by the SEC.
How much clearer does Tweeds need it? We’re just not that into your standards.
Merging the iconic New York Stock Exchange with Germany’s Deutsche Boerse AG will force European companies to switch to using U.S. accounting rules which have superior disclosures, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Friday.” This will force a common set of accounting standards on the world; the American disclosures are better,” Bloomberg said on his weekly WOR radio show, though he admitted U.S. rules did not prevent Bernard Madoff from swindling billions of dollars through a Ponzi scheme. [Reuters]
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!
As you probably remember, head knight of the double-entry accounting round table, Sir David Tweedie, is retiring in a few months to be replaced by this guy. Until then, however, the wily Scotsman will be running the show and he’s still pitching IFRS as if the life of the financial reporting universe depended on it. Just like Bob Herz, he’s in this thing until the very end.
CFO has a brief Q&A with SDT and despite the USA’s pussyfooting around the issue, he manages to rush to our defense at the suggestion of haters that the IASB should give us the “throw the bums out” treatment:
Some critics grumble that if the United States does not adopt IFRS, it should be ousted from the IASB and the board of trustees. What’s your opinion?
I get quite angry at some of the comments we get insisting that the United States be ousted. People say that America would have to come around because the U.S. share of global-market capitalization is falling all the time. The complaint is, “We’re not having [the United States] tell us what to do if they don’t use international standards.” I can understand that, and you can have international standards without the United States. But you can’t have global standards without the United States. So there is more work to be done on that issue.
So in other words, suck it world! You can keep your international standards. We’ve got a knighted Scotsman who even said you’ll make due without us. Call it whatever you like, just don’t call it “global” without us. Because you can’t spell “global” without “A”… which stands for…er….”America.” BASTARDS.
[BREATHE] Never mind that. The most interesting bit is that Tweeds appears to blow the lid of the Big 4 omertá:
What’s been your experience with professional judgment? Many U.S. practitioners say a heavy reliance on judgment won’t work in America’s litigious environment.
As a technical partner at KPMG, I was always being asked to evaluate situations that were outside of issued guidance. It’s the same in the United States — you get questions you’ve never thought about before, and there’s nothing in the standards addressing it. So you kick it around with the client, the client partners, and other senior partners in the firm. You come up with a position.
[My approach was to] ring up Deloitte, for example, and say, “Have you had one of these [situations]?” There is sort of a technical-partner mafia that gets together and says, “Yeah, we had one of these.” So, in a way, the profession fixes the problems.
So whether this is happening under the nose of the brass or with their full and unmitigated support can’t be determined, although we won’t be surprised if the old man ends up “retiring” early.
Tweedie Takes a Bow [CFO]
She’s officially the boss for reals.
The Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) today named Leslie F. Seidman chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), effective immediately. Ms. Seidman has served as the acting FASB chairman since the retirement of Robert H. Herz on September 30, 2010.
“Our Board of Trustees is thrilled that Leslie Seidman has agreed to accept the position as Chairman of the FASB. She brings both unparalleled standard-setting experience and outstanding leadership skills to her new role,” said FAF Chairman John J. Brennan. “As the FASB continues its efforts to address the many significant accounting and financial reporting issues both here in the U.S. and globally, Leslie’s depth of experience with international and domestic financial reporting issues will enhance our progress toward meeting the needs of all of our varied constituents. On behalf of the FAF Trustees, we are delighted that she will be leading the FASB’s efforts to tackle these many challenges for the betterment of capital markets participants both here and abroad.”
How does Les feel about being the new punching bag of the anti-IFRS contingent, House Financial Services Committee, the American Bankers Association and countless letters and emails of ridicule? Pretty good, actch:
“I am honored to be leading the FASB at such a pivotal time in our history,” said Ms. Seidman. “The FASB remains committed to developing standards that will provide investors and other capital providers with decision-useful information. We are at a crucial point in our convergence program, and my fellow Board members and I are working in close partnership with the IASB to improve the comparability of financial information around the world. We want our standards to enhance communication and confidence in financial reports, and we will continue to seek new ways to keep our stakeholders informed and engaged in the standard-setting process.”
It’s just accounting rules after all, how bad could it be?
Comments reflected “a lot of unanimity around, if we go in this direction, allowing sufficient time for companies to adjust,” said Schapiro in a question-and-answer session following her keynote address to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ national conference on accounting and auditing issues for public companies. “It’s likely to be a minimum of four years,” but that’s still a point for the SEC to decide, she said, assuming it decides to incorporate IFRS into U.S. capital markets. [Compliance Week]
Actually it’s about half of CFOs with that attitude, according to Grant Thornton’s latest survey. They’re ballparking it around 5-7 years while nearly a quarter of the responders think we need to get on this ASAP.
Stephen Chipman, is keeping the faith even though, people aren’t as enthusiastic as he:
“While there is movement toward greater acceptance of International Financial Reporting Standards based on our previous surveys, it is clear that there is still much work to be done in educating the U.S. financial community on the benefits of IFRS,” said Grant Thornton LLP CEO Stephen Chipman.
“We have been, and continue to be, staunch supporters of the ongoing movement toward one set of high-quality, globally accepted accounting standards. As dynamic businesses continue to expand their international footprint, it is increasingly sub-optimal to be using different reporting standards, which sometimes increase costs while decreasing comparability. Just as international business has benefited over the last 30-odd years from the increased shared use of English, so too will global companies reap the benefits of one financial reporting language.”
That being said, Jim Kroeker will have you know that things are going along swimmingly, per the Commission’s press release:
“The staff has invested significant time and effort in executing the Work Plan, and we’ve made great progress to date,” said SEC Chief Accountant Jim Kroeker. “This progress report emphasizes the importance of transparency in the staff’s activities, and can help the public’s understanding of the magnitude of this project and the staff’s progress.”
So make no mistake; the SEC is on this. However, they do have some concerns, “[W]hether the international accounting rule maker is truly independent and whether IFRS is high quality.”
So if you could address those two things, that would be appreciated. Sir David.
Groups Push Legal Limits in Advertising [NYT]
“The basic rule of thumb for nonprofit groups organized under Section 501(c) of the tax code is that more than 50 percent of their annual activities cannot be political. Although it is a matter of debate how spending on traditional issue ads would be categorized by the Internal Revenue Service, it is indisputable that spending on express advocacy would be classified as political.”
Lords to hear top six firms on audit reform [Accountancy Age]
“A showdown has been planned for the UK’s top six ac evidence is heard at a House of Lord’s inquiry into audit reform.
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee will take evidence from the heads of the Big Four – PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young – followed by their mid-tier rivals – BDO and Grant Thornton – during its inquiry into audit competition.”
Accounting industry sees ray of light on the horizon [Crain’s]
“Demand for accountants is forcing large CPA firms to bump salaries by as much as 3.8% next year, the steepest jump since 2008. U.S. companies with more than 20 employees plan to increase hiring of full-time accountants and finance personnel this quarter for the first time since early 2009, says Michael Shapow, a senior vice-president at Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing firm Robert Half International Inc.
During the dot-com era, bachelor’s degrees in accounting fell from 53,000 in the mid-1990s to 35,000 in 2002, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Washington, D.C. The figure has boom-eranged, rising to 49,000 in 2008, creating a new problem: not enough professors.”
Systemic Risk! Dominance! Momentum! Auditors In Crisis. Again. [Re: The Auditors]
The “outrage” and “risk” over the dominance by the Big 4 in the audit industry is so played.
Obama Attacks Republicans on Tax Policy [TaxProf Blog]
AICPA to SEC: Companies Will Need as Much as Five Years to Ready for IFRS Adoption [JofA]
“In the portion of its letter regarding the impact of IFRS conversion on contractual arrangements, the AICPA voices support for a requirement for companies adopting IFRS to file one year of comparative financial statements rather than two. ‘Our research indicates that companies will need five years preparation time to adopt IFRS if the SEC requires two years of historical comparative financial statements. If only one year of comparative financial statements is required, a four-year transition period would be needed to adopt IFRS.’ The SEC has not said what the requirement would be.”
For the first times since we started paying attention, the TIGTA is simply putting everyone on notice that the IRS is on top of this IFRS thing. No “You suck at this IRS” or “Here’s a list of things you should considering doing if you are interested in not sucking any more, IRS.” Simply, “Here’s what they’re doing. Have a nice day.”
The IRS began developing plans for strategic and operational activities related to the adoption of the IFRS in 2009.
TIGTA found that the IRS: is training employees about IFRS concepts and potential issues; working with the tax preparer community to identify and outline IFRS implementation concerns; and developing procedures to address issues related to IFRS conversion efforts.
“The IRS is appropriately laying the groundwork for its increased oversight of international taxation by gaining an understanding of the International Financial Reporting Standards,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
TIGTA did not make any recommendations in this audit and the IRS did not provide any comments on a draft of the report.
Doesn’t quite feel right, does it?
Look, pal. We get that you’re anxious to slap these sets of accounting rules together like an IKEA ottoman. We also get that you and a certain knight want – nay – need the RW&B to be on board.
But we don’t know who you’re trying to boss here. See, we’re fairly certain you’d be speaking German if it wasn’t for us. Furthermore, in case you haven’t noticed, we like dragging things out until the last possible minute. Or just ignoring things until we have a giant mess on our hands and then we try cleaning up. Why would we treat IFRS any different?
We understand it’s a new century, millennium and you guys have a rough go in the World Cup but you can give it a rest.
We’ll get to IFRS when we’re good and ready and just because today is Bob Herz’s last day at the FASB doesn’t mean you need to get all anxious about it:
The US is due to make a decision about whether fully buy in to international standards in the latter half of next year. There has been speculation that the appointment of a new chairman for the US standard setter, FASB, could determine which way the world’s biggest economy will go on international standards.
In a speech yesterday to a conference organised by European financial think tank EUROFI, Barnier welcomed the involvement of the US in the Basel talks on financial regulation. But he added that the US should not part company with IFRS.
“It’s essential that we adopt the same prudential framework. I say this very simply, we cannot afford to take the risk of divergence in this area. And this is also the case for accounting standards,” he said.
EU chief urges US to buy into IFRS [Accountancy Age]
Just because Golden Boy is assuming Roberto’s seat on Friday, don’t think Herz is spending his final days as the FASB Chairman perusing the web for the latest D-list celebrity sex tape:
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today announced the completion of the first phase of their joint project to develop an improved conceptual framework for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and US generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP).
The objective of the conceptual framework project is to create a sound foundation for future accounting standards that are principles-based, internally consistent and internationally converged. The new framework builds on existing IASB and FASB frameworks. The IASB has revised portions of its framework; while the FASB has issued ‘Concepts Statement 8’ to replace ‘Concepts Statements 1 and 2’.
This first phase of the conceptual framework deals with the objective and qualitative characteristics of financial reporting. As part of the consultation process, the IASB and FASB jointly published a discussion paper and exposure draft that resulted in more than 320 responses.
Along with the heavy lifting that comes with the FASB chairmanship, we imagine Herz is also doing some reflecting this week as his tenure comes to an end. You know, reading some of his favorite comment letters and drafting a farewell/thanks for all the good times email to Barney Frank and the ABA. Stuff like that.
IASB and US FASB Complete First Stage of Conceptual Framework [Business Wire]
Those of you who graduated in May should already be buried in your review books and planning to sit for some parts – if you haven’t already – but for some of you, the long wait to get your applications processed is anything but over OR you managed to procrastinate up until this point and haven’t even begun the process. I’ll resist the urge to smack you if you promise to submit those as soon as you’re done reading this post. Regardless of where you’re at in the process, chances are you’re tripping about 2011 changes. Not to worry, my big fat brain packed with CPA exam goodness is here to help.
Accounting Is Still Accounting – Even if they are testing IFRS in 2011, debits still go on the left (at least I’m pretty sure they still do under IFRS) and pension accounting is still really annoying. Keep in mind, IFRS isn’t the norm in the wild – at least in the U.S. at this point – and will not be for several years so it would be irresponsible of the AICPA Board of Examiners to heavily test rules that aren’t even widely accepted in practice. So relax, the changes are coming but they aren’t nearly as scary as you think.
FAR – If you are able to, get FAR done this year so you don’t have to worry about it next year. The first two windows of 2011 will say a lot about the AICPA’s strategy but knowing them, I wouldn’t expect 2010’s exam to be completely different from 2011’s. Those questions cost a lot of time and energy to make and the BoE isn’t about to trash all of them just so they can start testing rules that we don’t even use. With me on this one? Calm down.
CPA Review Materials – If you haven’t yet committed to a CPA review course, be sure to ask about 2011 materials and how changes affect the course you choose THIS year. A good review course will offer updates to the material but be on the lookout for additional product purchase charges or fees to update your materials. For BEC, REG and AUD the changes are minimal: international audit standards will appear here and there and a few things are moved around but for the most part the largest change in these areas will be the cosmetic change in BEC as written communications are moved out of the other three sections and stuck there. This does not change the content, only how you prepare and the point percentages for this section.
You can find the new 2011 CSOs via the AICPA here if you’d like a better look at what you’re in for next year but as I said, it doesn’t take long to figure out that next year’s exam really doesn’t look all that different from this year’s.
House Vote Sends Finance Overhaul to Senate [WSJ]
“The House agreed Wednesday to a sweeping rewrite of the nation’s financial regulations, moving the initiative one step closer to becoming law.
Focus now shifts to the Senate, where questions linger about whether Democrats have nailed down enough support from the handful of Republicans needed to overcome a likely filibuster. The Senate won’t take up the bill until after the July 4 recess, creating an awkward pause in which the bill’s opponents will have one last chance to derail it.”
Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-Sex Benefits [NYT]
“On Thursday, Google is going to begin covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay. The increase will be retroactive to the beginning of the year.
‘It’s a fairly cutting edge thing to do,’ said Todd A. Solomon, a partner in the employee benefits department of McDermott Will & Emery, a law firm in Chicago, and author of ‘Domestic Partner Benefits: An Employer’s Guide.’
Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google’s move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent.”
Senate chairman starts probe of Transocean’s taxes [AP]
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) would like to know whether Transocean’s move offshore was an exploitation of U.S. tax law, “The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is launching an investigation into the tax practices of Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the massive oil spill.”
Sadly, this will lead nowhere since exploitation ≠ illegal in this case. Deplorable? Yes. Tax malfeasance? No. Political pandering? Absolutely.
Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg Wins Executive of the Year – Services at the 8th Annual American Business Awards [PR Newswire]
It’s a Stevie award! BS beat out Jeffrey Bezos, chairman, president and CEO, Amazon.com; Dominic Barton, managing director of McKinsey & Company; and Joseph Neubauer, chairman and CEO of ARAMARK for the Stevie.
In his own words, “I am very honored by this recognition, which truly is a testament to Deloitte’s progress and the industry-leading work of our more than 40,000 people in the United States. Although we have faced challenging economic times in the past few years, Deloitte’s diverse portfolio of quality services and investment in talent continue to drive our business and differentiate us in the marketplace. We are eager to approach the opportunities that await us and our clients in the economic upturn.”
GAAP and IFRS: Six Degrees of Separation [CFO]
That is, six major differences between the two sets of rules that will have to be ironed out. Namely: error correction, LIFO, reversal of impairments, PP&E valuation, component depreciation and development costs. After that, this convergence thing will be a breeze.
[caption id="attachment_12975" align="alignright" width="122" caption="Source: Stern School of Business"][/caption]
Now that convergence has been delayed, the anti-convergence/IFRS contingent is hopeful that this is a major sign of defeat. Whether that’s the case or not remains to be seen but don’t expect the debate to go away.
We recently spoke with Dr. Frederick Choi, Dean Emeritus and Distingu��������������������sor of Business and Chair of the Accounting Department at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business about the latest current events and what Stern does to prepare its students for IFRS in their careers and on the CPA Exam.
GC: So the number one question on everyone’s mind – will the world end if the United States converts to IFRS?
Dr. Frederick Choi: [laughs] My answer to that is to not to worry, the world will continue as it always has, so we’ll continue to have fun with accounting like we always have in the past.
GC: So there’s no risk that the U.S. will lose its imperial superpower status as a result of this?
FC: No, I don’t think so. I think there’s sufficient flexibility in international accounting standards so that we can continue on as before.
GC: So why do you think the SEC is so cautious? Are all those lawyers scared because there might be numbers involved?
FC: First of all, the U.S. environment is a very litigious environment so I think there’s a concern that IFRS will permit more judgment for the company presenting the numbers. U.S. GAAP, because of the litigious environment, has to be a little more prescriptive, that is, “here are the rules, here are the exceptions.”
At one time in the US, our accounting rules were principles-based and required a lot of judgment. In the ‘60s some companies were were cooking the books which resulted in reporting scandals and class-actions. Then someone said, , “hey, the audit firms have a lot money, so let’s go after the auditors.” That’s when accounting prescriptions became much more rules-focused. So I think the big fear is that moving from an environment that is more rules-based to one that is more principles based will require much more judgment and perhaps invite more litigation.
GC: So a little current events question – what do you make of the FASB and IASB’s announcement that the convergence project is going to be a tad late? Was the June 2011 to get those G20 guys off their backs or did they really think they were going to get this pulled off?
FC: I think when they first started the project towards convergence they did so in good faith but there are some significant differences that need to be ironed out. And given the vested interests, it’s going to take a while. I’m not surprised that the deadline has been extended.
GC: And the SEC seems completely all right with it.
GC: Say I’m against IFRS – in fact, I’m a militant for U.S. GAAP. I don’t want IFRS anywhere near our capital markets because it’s too principles-based, countries need financial reporting autonomy and that it doesn’t really benefit anyone except a bunch of big accounting firms that need a new revenue stream? Plus, it’s going to be a nightmare for companies to convert to and it doesn’t really help small and medium-sized businesses…
FC: That’s correct.
GC: …having said all that, your response to me is…
FC: I look at this from the point of view of the the analyst. From the point of view of the analyst, the name of the game is to read the tea leaves and get as close to the underlying transaction as possible. The one strength of U.S. GAAP is that there’s a lot of research that goes into the pronouncements. I think U.S. GAAP – without sounding nationalistic – is the best researched, empirically as well as conceptually, accounting standards in the world.
I think an analyst should not be bogged down by whether U.S. GAAP is better or IFRS is better. Analysts have always taken the numbers and massaged them to get closer to what he or she thinks the underlying economics are. In fact, if you look at the not-so-sharp analyst who will say, “Oh, we’re going to IFRS and that’s going to make my life easier,” my response is “No, it’s not.” I think it will be more complicated.
GC: Okay but there are going to be some tricky areas, right? What are those going to be?
FC: I think the biggie is the ability to write down an asset and write it back up. Here in the States, when we impair an asset we cannot go back and reverse it. The rationale behind that was you don’t want to give firms the option to manage the bottom line.
Firms that write asset back up will be able to smooth earnings. Say you and I are in business and we have a good year, so we write down an asset and take the loss. Next year, we say “Oh my god, results are horrible. How can we pump up the bottom line?” We reverse the write-down. So, that’s a big concern that I have. That applies to intangible assets, it applies to plant & equipment, it applies to inventory. So this is a biggie.
Another difference worth nothing is if management feels that the standard they are following is misleading, they can actually deviate from the standard. That’s a major concern as well.
GC: How familiar are you with integrated reporting? How do you think it fits in with the transition and is this something we’ll see more of or are we still at the baby steps stage?
FC: I think from an investor’s point of view, that’s going to be confusing because you’re going to have hard numbers combined with very soft numbers and I’m not so sure that’s going to make life easy. I think if you keep the soft stuff in a separate statement then the analyst can look at the hard numbers and come to a preliminary conclusion and looking at the soft numbers make some professional judgment – do you bump the number up a little bit or do you interpret it a little more cautiously. To me that’s the better state of the world.
GC: And as it stands right now, there’s no way to audit the non-financial information
FC: That’s correct.
GC: What are you doing to prepare your students at NYU for the transition?
FC: I put together a team here at Stern and we looked at all the courses that deal with financial reporting and basically I think the whole approach that we’ve taken is that our responsibility is not to teach students to memorize rules, our responsibility is to teach them how to think and think critically. We say here is an international accounting standard. Let’s talk about various measurement issues that we normally talk about and when a new standard is issued, I’ll expose you to both the U.S. standard and the international standard. For now, those two sets of standards will continue for the next several years. If the international standard is different from the U.S. standard we’ll say “here’s the implications on the financial statements and profitability, liquidity, ratios, etc.” So students can identify the impact of the different measurement framework on the financial statements.
GC: How have you balanced, from a curriculum standpoint, IFRS education and the requirements for the upcoming changes to the CPA Exam?
FC: Our approach is not to teach students to pass the CPA Exam, our approach is provide an education. Students need to learn and think critically because rules will change over time and I think it’s best to develop those critical thinking skills. We infuse international reporting standards throughout the curriculum but not in the sense where we say, “Here, memorize this rule and be able to spit it out and ace that question on the CPA exam.” We’re basically saying, “here are the standards, here are the differences, here’s how they will impact the financial statements and be aware of that.” We have a combined BS/MS in accounting program that prepares students for the 150 hours and a required international accounting and reporting course is part of that degree.
GC: So in other words, they’ve got this on lockdown and they will all be go-to experts on IFRS at their firms?
FC: I think they’ll be able to speak intelligently about IFRS but they won’t be rulebooks.
GC: What are you hearing from the firms that recruit at NYU (other than “send us the smartest ones) on this issue?
FC: I think the market likes our product because we develop those critical thinking skills and our placement rate at the Undergraduate College is close to 100%, so they like the product irrespective if they know IFRS or not because if you’re smart and have the critical thinking skills you can pick up IFRS in very short order. Given a choice between two students – one that has been exposed to IFRS and one that has not, but they’re both bright, and the firm can only take one, of course the firm will take the one with the familiarity with IFRS but I don’t think that’s ever been an issue.
GC: Back to the CPA exam. Of course everyone at NYU will be passing no problem but what about students and instructors elsewhere? Should they cram it in and get it passed in 2010 or will they be ready for the 2011 exam?
FC: I think many schools are already gearing up. We have shared our approach with many schools via workshops, conference presentations and the like. We are always ready to assist. Our approach is, “ We’ve exposed you to IFRS and if it is on the exam, youlcan get more details in a review course or you can bone up on IFRS on your own, but it shouldn’t be a big issue.
Have a question on the CPA Exam? What section is easiest? How should I study for Regulation? Are pants mandatory at the testing site? Shoot us an email with your query.
It’s the big question on everyone’s minds so we better address it now before you cute little CPA exam candidates start freaking out:
Do you know what will happen if as of December 31, 2010 I have completed two sections of the exam? Will I only have to take the remaining two sections or will I be subject to the new exam parts coming in 2011?
Good question. First of all, keep in mind that a lot of the hype surrounding the 2011 changes is:
A) CPA Review course marketing (“buy new materials! Be sure you’re up to date!”)
B) AICPA marketing (“Hey! Check out how advanced we are and how easily we can integrate a whole new set of standards into our psychometric exams!”)
C) Misinformation spread by candidates who “heard from someone” that BEC will now contain 10 simulations and all of them will be graded.
Just stop. The two biggest changes for 2011 are the addition of IFRS (which will mostly affect FAR) and communications in BEC, that’s it! That means get FAR out of the way this year if you can and throw in BEC before December if you are allergic to written communication. The exam changes twice a year anyway, this is nothing new.
Now that that’s out of the way, the rolling 18 month period also stays the same so whatever you have passed in the last 18 months will still be good. Again, if you’re freaking out about all of this, get FAR done ASAP and you will have minimal IFRS and GAAP codification garbage to deal with. A few sections are moved around (for example, business structures will be moving out of BEC) but it’s mostly the same content. REG is hardly changed at all and AUD will be one half hour shorter with more on professional ethics while BEC will be one half hour longer with written communications.
Simulations are trimmed down to “simlets” and instead of getting one topic, you have a better chance of doing well as they will be smaller and consist of several different topics. In my opinion, the exam is just getting easier.
I’m willing to bet that testing will be a bit of a bumpy ride for the first two windows of the year as the AICPA BoE gets its bearings with the new information and somewhat adjusted formats. But debits are still on the left and credits on the right so it’s not worth getting bent out of shape over; the exam will still suck and you’ll still have to study but thankfully, just like thousands of CPAs before you, you’ll rarely use anything you learned for the exam in the real world.
No, really. They made a song:
Items of note:
– “Spin that beat” had to be requested twice.
– Things don’t get really serious until #20 gets off the stage.
– #21 didn’t know the words but managed to do the arm swinging quite well.
– The line, “My workpapers don’t lie” is obviously a lie. Everyone ghost ticks at some point.
– Calling out the tax practice for not having any swagger is a little presumptuous.
Other thoughts? Go.
Earlier in the week we heard the devastating news that the FASB and IASB’s convergence efforts, despite a good hustle, would not meet the G20’s deadline of June 2011.
FASB Chairman Bob Herz indicated that this was a serious case of the Boards having bigger eyeshades than their double-entry stomachs could handle but he tried to squelch the disappointment by assuring everyone that the mission is not a failure and the Boards would “get most if not all of [the accounting standard proposals] done by the end of 2011.”
Roberto and IASB Chair Sir David Tweedie, feeling bad about how the whole thing turned out, decided to send a letter to the G20, presumably to keep them from getting their panties in knot:
It is expected that this action by the FASB and IASB will not negatively impact the Securities and Exchange Commission’s work plan, announced in February, to consider in 2011 whether and how to incorporate IFRS into the US financial system.
We appreciate the support of the G20 for the development of a single set of high quality global accounting standards. The two boards remain committed to achieving that objective. We shall continue to provide timely updates regarding our progress.
Ohhh, right. The SEC. What do they think about all this? Judging by Mary Schapiro’s attitude of “assuming completion of the convergence projects” as a precursor to IFRS, she’s totally cool with it, making her thoughts known in a statement yesterday:
The boards believe that the modified plan will contribute to increased quality in the standards because it provides additional time for stakeholders to thoroughly consider the proposals and give both boards quality feedback. I view this as time that is well invested.
Quality financial reporting standards established through an independent process are threshold criteria against which the Commission’s future consideration of the role of IFRS in the U.S. reporting system will be based. I foresee no reason that the adjustment to the targeted timeline for certain joint projects should impact the staff’s analyses under the Work Plan issued in February 2010, particularly when that adjustment is designed to enhance the quality of the standards. Indeed, focused efforts on those standards the boards consider highest priority for the improvement of U.S. GAAP and IFRS will facilitate the staff’s analyses.
Accordingly, I am confident that we continue to be on schedule for a Commission determination in 2011 about whether to incorporate IFRS into the financial reporting system for U.S. issuers.
In other words, no rush guys. Take it from Mary, this happens all the time.
In the first part of our conversation with Michael Krzus, co-author of One Report, Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy, we discussed the nature of integrated reporting, how it will change corporate reporting as it is commonly known and some of the benefits to both stakeholders and companies.
The second part of our discussion looks at how small and midsize entities will benefit from integrated reporting, the feedback received from clients, and what the future holds.
Going Concern: Do you see a point in time when companies sults for sustainability issues on a reoccurring basis similar to quarterly earnings reporting?
Michael Krzus: I know enough about this to be dangerous, so I’ll give you that caveat, but I am aware of the somewhat recent EPA rule making that is going to require companies to report emissions and things of that nature. There are some limitations, but there will be more frequent reporting for U.S. domiciled companies. I think some of it will depend on the technology available. I don’t know what it takes for a coal-fired electric plant to account for CO2 emissions. So I’m not really in a good position to tell you that in five years whether that will evolve into more regular reporting or not.
GC: What kind of companies will be able to utilize integrate reporting? Can any size company embrace it or will it start with the largest players and work its way down?
MK: As a practical matter, it will have to be large, public traded companies, particularly the global players. On the other hand, I think small and mid-cap companies, especially private ones, have as much or more skin in the game and a lot more upside than the big guys. And that’s because of the complexity of information and the complexity of accounting standards. If you’re Microsoft, you’ve got a lot of issues that can be addressed by your large accounting department but if you’re a $400 million manufacturer of widgets, you don’t have those kind of resources. But you do want to tell stakeholders your story clearly and succinctly. I think the idea of the integrated report gives them the opportunity to do that.
Additionally, in the last couple of years, I’ve developed a good working relationship with the Society of Investment Professionals in Germany and one of the things that group has done is build example reports of what an integrated report could look like for a small or mid-cap sized company. If you think about it from the German perspective, much of their market base is small and medium sized companies and analysts there are very interested in the benefits that an integrated reporting can provide. So, there’s a lot upside for companies that fall outside the Fortune 500.
GC: Do you see a point in time where banks start requesting more non-financial information (i.e. ESG information) in order to qualify for lending?
MK: The short answer is “Yes.” To me, sustainability really has to do with long term viability of an entity. I don’t think a company can be viable for the long term without understanding and managing their environmental, social and governance risks because those three risk types specifically translate to reputation.
To some degree a lender will have to start considering non-financial factors. The price of admission is opening your heart and soul, as a company, to the banker. A banker can ask all kinds of question whether its about CO2 emissions or manufacturing location in Thailand that may cause child labor problems because you’re running a sweat shop.
To parallel that, I recently attended a conference of institutional investors. I found it interesting that a group of people that wanted to know more about integrated reporting were private equity folks. These private equity people are in the same boat as the bankers. If they are going to make an investment, they will open up everything. It’s not just about getting the 10-K, it’s about understanding everything from financial projections and processes to social and environmental risks in China. So, the markets in general, not just bankers, but also private equity and traditional sources of capital have become more and more interested in a broad set of non-financial information.
GC: What has been the experience with clients?
MK: Clients have assisted us by presenting challenging questions to help us think more clearly about the situation. For example, some people have argued that we don’t need integrated reporting because the markets are efficient and already have all the information they need. I would argue that, even without the events of the last couple of years, markets aren’t efficient and don’t have all the information they need because we have so many firms employing armies of analysts, all of who are looking for that shred of information that will give their company an edge. There’s always something that the analysts don’t have.
Another argument is whether or not the integrated report somehow diminishes the corporate responsibility report. My response to that is that by not integrating the two types of reports, companies avoid an audit of non-financial information. In general, the companies that have an integrated report do have some assurance over the non-financial information; it’s not necessarily subject to the same standards as auditing standards but there is some kind of assurance. So I think some kind of audit over the information – and over time perhaps controls and processes – will elevate the quality of the reporting. So good questions from very sharp people like “Have you guys thought about this?” forces us to engage in some dialogue of our own so we do have a coherent responses.
GC: How does IFRS fit into integrated reporting?
MK: I’m one of those people who think that there should be one global set of accounting standards. To speculate just a little bit, I could envision a world that might have IFRS that govern the financial statements and perhaps an international non-financial reporting standard, because at some point we’re going to have to address that. I think the larger question of IFRS is to first, how do we develop a global standard of non-financial information? And secondly, can we develop some sort of benchmark for auditors? So, I remain optimistic that U.S. will eventually adopt IFRS and would hope in the next few years there would be some kind of move to adopt international standards for non-financial information.
GC: What’s next?
MK: There are a couple of major conferences coming up this year where integrated reporting will be a topic in several sessions. We use various conferences to spread the word and build some momentum behind the idea. The Harvard Business School and the Harvard University Center of the Environment are co-sponsoring an event on integrated reporting later this year. Two newspapers in Japan are hosting an event in November and the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability has an annual event in December that hosts roundtables on various topics.
On the Accounting for Sustainability website, there are a number of press releases including a PDF on a governmental collaboration that calls for the establishing an international integrated reporting committee. I can tell you that the Accounting for Sustainability Group has the resources and, frankly, the brand name that could call for the IASB or some other group to undertake the idea of a global framework for reporting non-financial information. I could see us having this conversation a year from now and I’d be very disappointed if there was not some kind of formal announcement from an international integrated reporting committee.
So I’m cautiously optimistic about the future. The timing for this is right and integrated reporting is important when you believe in the concept of inter-generational responsibility. This is the only planet we’ve got and we should every intent to leave it in as good as condition as we found it.
But as a hard-headed capitalist I also think integrated reporting makes sense because you don’t want to invest in company that will go bust. A company simply cannot be viable for the long-term unless they are considering ESG issues.
Some of you might think that Sir David Tweedie is trying evangelize IFRS all over this great U.S. GAAP land because A) he’s a wily Scotsman who isn’t afraid to wear a kilt to the office and sure as hell isn’t going to let a bunch of know-nothings tell him what’s best and B) he’s trying to throw his title.
Or maybe you just think he doesn’t care if the US of A is down with the financial reporting Kumbaya. Well Tweeds is Stateside putting everyone on notice that if that’s what you believe, you would be wrong. DEAD WRONG.
“The world is moving to a single set of high-quality global accounting standards, and this is too important an area for the U.S. not to be involved…After almost a decade of work to improve IFRS and U.S. GAAP and to seek their convergence, it’s time to finish the job.”
That’s the best he can do. And don’t bother asking him for the title, he can’t give it to you.
Grant Thornton moves D.C. office [Washington Business Journal]
GT DC is moving from its cushy confines of 19,450-square-feet at 1900 M St. NW to 15,190-square-feet at 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Mary Moore Hamrick, the company’s national managing principal of public policy thinks this move is crucial saying, “Grant Thornton’s public policy group is taking a more proactive role in shaping the dialogue on accounting issues. This move will support the public policy group’s expansion as we seek to do our part in restoring confidence in the capital markets.” Better feng shui probably.
AICPA Survey Shows US CPAs Gaining in Awareness of International Financial Reporting Standards [AICPA Press Release]
CPAs are less clueless on IFRS, sayeth the AICPA:
The latest AICPA tracking survey shows a sustained shift toward greater awareness of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) among U.S. accountants. Nearly half, 47 percent, of CPAs in the survey conducted April 20 to May 7 said that they already have basic knowledge of IFRS, an advancement from 39 percent who had basic knowledge in October 2008. At the same time, there has been a continuing decline in the number of CPAs who say they have no knowledge of IFRS; 16 percent in the latest survey, down from 30 percent in October 2008.
U.S. Supreme Court upholds IRS power in tax case [Reuters]
Those super secret corporate legal documents that discuss contingent liabilities? The IRS may be able to request them whenever they like, as the Supreme Court upheld a First Circuit ruling by denying certiorarit in the case.
In U.S. v. Textron, Inc., the company claimed that such documentation was privileged. The First Circuit disagreed:
[I]n its ruling against Textron, set a new test, under which every party in commercial litigation whose opponents file financial statements with contingent liabilities for litigation will be able to obtain documents detailing such exposure, according to Douglas Stransky, an attorney at Sullivan and Worchester in Boston who represents corporate clients.
“The First Circuit’s decision has eviscerated the work product protection that exists to protect exactly the type of attorney analysis that was present in this case,” he said. “It’s surprising that the Supreme Court did not recognize this.”
Florida Keys inmate pleads guilty in IRS scam [Miami Herald]
Shawn Clarke, an inmate at a Florida prison, pleaded guilty to conspiracy yesterday as the ringleader to a tax fraud scam in which he requested bogus refunds from the IRS in the amount of $115,000. It wasn’t exactly a complicated scam, as the inmates and their family members submitted 1040EZ forms along with Form 4852 to request the refunds, all for around $5,000.
Clarke was convinced that this was the best idea ever, allegedly saying, “I’m through with the street crime. I’m strictly white collar from now on. I love the IRS.” He’s looking at an additional 10 years.
How Dangerous is the Two-Billion Dollar Suit Against PwC Over Iceland’s Glitnir Bank? The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind [Re: Balance]
In terms of a European financial laughingstock, prior to Greece, there was Iceland. Glitnir Bank (or what’s left of it) is suing its former chairman, CEO, other directors, and PricewaterhouseCoopers for their implosion last year.
For PwC’s part, one might think that since the lawsuit is in a country no one really pays much attention to, that it’s a bit of a joke. Well, that would not be so:
PwC faces a real lawsuit (for the complaint, here), in a real court – Manhattan’s New York Supreme – brought on behalf of the bank’s creditors and advised by Steptoe & Johnson and Slaughter & May – real lawyers who know their billions from their millions. Nor, any more than any of the other Big Four accounting firms, does PwC have the resources to absorb a ten-figure litigation blow (here).
Prosecutors Ask if 8 Banks Duped Rating Agencies [NYT]
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole and Merrill Lynch come on down!
When the CAE is the bearer of bad news – and gets shot in the process [Marks on Governance]
What’s that saying about messengers? Chief Audit Executives (“CAE”) are often bad news messengers and talk about a thankless job. As Norman Marks tells us about one person that shared with three tricky situations with past employers:
In each of these situations I firmly believed that something that the organization was doing was highly unethical and/or not in the best interest of the organization, placing it at risk. Two of the organizations actually admitted that what was being done was in direct violation of the organization’s policies and in one situation state employment laws. In one situation I had my exit meeting with HR, and in the other two organizations only with the CAE.
In case you’ve misremembered, whistleblowers usually have a rough go of it, as Norman states, “All CAEs recognize that this is a risk, and in my experience they all accept it with full knowledge that their career at their company may effectively end with the delivery of the bad news.”
GAAP’s Lawsuit Buffer [CFO]
Some might argue that U.S. GAAP has a very distinct advantage over a more principles-based accounting system – lower litigation risk.
Of course companies could document the hell out of their “principles-based” conclusions to mitigate this risk but shareholders would likely still question their cockamamie reasoning. Now a recent study entitled “Rules-Based Accounting Standards and Litigation” is suggesting “that companies that violate rules-based standards have a lower likelihood of getting sued than those that are accused of violating more-principles-based standards,” giving the pro-U.S. GAAP contingent more to stand on.
The authors did admit that it’s difficult to conclude that principles-based would absolutely, 100% lead to more litigation due to our “unique litigation system” and the fact that we live in a sue-happy paradise.
It turns out that for many of the largest global companies, all this IFRS anxiety might be completely overblown. Companies with massive accounting departments and gurus leading the IFRS charge don’t seem to be all that concerned about accounting adjustments or costs, two areas that could cause headaches for smaller companies that are forced to adopt IFRS.
At the accounting conference at Pace University last week, some of the accounting gurus from the largest global companies reacted to the switch with “meh”:
They will be “underwhelmed,” says Aaron Anderson, director, IFRS policy and implementation at IBM…”When I look at the impact on IBM and compare it to whether investors will care, frankly, I don’t think they will.”
He pointed out that if the company moves all of its financial reporting to IFRS — and some of its foreign subsidiaries are already reporting under the international standards — the change wouldn’t be material in areas that investors “care about,” such as service contracts and product backlog, which are “numbers that are not reported in GAAP, anyway.”
Unfortunately, not every company has the good fortune to have a “Director of IFRS Policy and Implementation.” For some small businesses, the IFRS adoption could very well be headed up by the CFO of the company, assisted by the controller, with a couple of senior accountants pitching in. If things really get complicated (we’re talking about accounting rules, after all), then consultants could be called in to straighten help out but at what cost?
But even companies that do have someone spearheading this effort have a few concerns. Alcoa’s IFRS implementation director said the company won’t be on board until the inventory and derivatives issues have been worked out but everything after that will be NBD:
Klingler said that Alcoa won’t bless a conversion to IFRS until issues around inventory accounting are settled. Currently, Alcoa and other U.S. companies receive a tax benefit from using the last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting method, which is banned by IFRS. Being forced to dump LIFO could cost those companies significant cash tax payments.
Alcoa executives are also concerned with understanding how hedging rules will change, said Klingler, since the company is a commodities supplier. However, “everything else will be small numbers” with respect to accounting adjustments, he said.
So a couple big ticket issues that will certainly be resolved and then Alcoa will be marching to IFRS no problem. For small companies, dumping LIFO or figuring out hedge accounting (again) could have a huge effect.
Back to the money issue. Many are worried that since the last big change in the industry — Sarbanes-Oxley — resulted in huge compliance costs, companies will spend another king’s ransom to adopt IFRS. But again, for the largest companies, they’ve more or less got the cost of conversion nailed down and aren’t that concerned:
Anderson conceded that switching to international standards will require “a lot of work,” but added that IBM, which has already started the process of preparing for a switch, knows “within a tight range” what it will cost — and in relative terms, “it won’t be very much.”
The concession of “a lot of work” is the cause for concern for small companies. Naturally, the more complex a business, the more work will be required to adopt IFRS but at least those companies have the manpower and the resources to weather the initial learning curve. Smaller companies may find themselves short staffed which could result in need of outside expertise (and thus spending a small fortune) to make adoption happen.
Unfazed by IFRS [CFO]
Lehman case “backs” accounting convergence [Reuters]
Philippe Danjou, a board member at the IASB has been quoted as saying that Repo 105 would not have been allowed under IFRS, “From an IFRS perspective I would suspect that most transactions would have stayed on the balance sheet. It makes a case for convergence, it makes a case that we should not have different outcomes under different accounting standards when you have such big amounts.”
The G-20 asked the sages at both the FASB and the IASB to converge their rules by June-ish 2011 but some people don’t se c, as there are too many disparities on treatment of key issues between the two boards.
The Real Reason Behind Danny DeVito’s Crazy Eddie Movie Project Meltdown [White Collar Fraud]
Danny DeVito wants to make a movie based on the Crazy Eddie Fraud, which was perpetrated by, among others, Eddie and Sam Antar. The project has run aground primarily because of Eddie Antar’s life rights and the potential profit he would reap from the making of the movie. Danny D is disappointed by the developments and has sympathy for Eddie, discussing it in s recent Deadline New York article:
“He’s gone through tough times, and he’s not the aggressive tough guy they paint him to be,” De Vito said. “He’s in his 70s and the past has come back to bite us all in the ass. Peter [Steinfeld] and I told him we think there is a terrific story there, but we can’t do it with you involved, in any way. We’ve taken a breather, but we’re figuring out how to jump back in.
Sam Antar is not amused by this and chimed in with his side of the story:
Eddie Antar is plainly still in denial about his cowardice towards his own family and investors. There actually is a “family dynamic” that “explains Antar’s fall” as DeVito claims. However, Eddie Antar and other members of his immediate family are simply unwilling to give a truthful account of what really happened at Crazy Eddie, while Danny Devito is willing to accept Eddie Antar’s bullshit excuses for his vile behavior.
As Chipotle Sizzles, CFO Sells Stock [Barron’s]
Ten thousand shares at $144 and change will buy a bunch of burritos.
Medifast Lawsuit: Anti-SLAPP motions filed [Fraud Files Blog]
Back when we discussed forensic accounting, the aforementioned Sam Antar said that forensic accountants can look forward to “making many enemies in the course of their work and must be unhinged by the retaliation that normally follows uncovering fraud and other misconduct.”
Tracy Coenen, no stranger to this retaliation, is now fighting back against Medifast who has sued her and others for saying not so flattering things about the company:
SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It’s basically when a big company tries to shut up a little guy with expensive litigation. In my opinion, Medifast sued me and others in an attempt to get us to stop publicly analyzing or criticizing the company and it’s multi-level marketing business model.
In filing an anti-SLAPP motion, we are essentially asking the court to rule in our favor and in favor of free speech. Consumers should have the right to discuss, analyze, and criticize companies without the fear of expensive lawsuits.
JPMorgan May Quit Tax-Refund Loans, Helping H&R Block [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Bloomberg reports that JP Morgan may discontinue its financing of 13,000 independent tax preparers, a move that will benefit H&R Block, according to a competitor:
“Block is the biggest winner in this,” said John Hewitt, chief executive officer of Liberty Tax Service, a privately held company in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that also may benefit…
The reason HSBC is exiting this industry, even though they’re making $100 million a year in profit from it, is because of reputation risk,” Hewitt said in an interview. “Bankers don’t like the consumer advocacy groups picketing outside their offices.”
Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are attractive to clients that need cash immediately, based on their anticipated refund. The business is controversial because the high interest rates can drive people further into debt and consumer groups oppose them vehemently.
Funding for smaller shops that offer these loans will likely lose the business altogether as large banks like JP Morgan discontinue the financing, thus driving the business to franchise tax prep shops like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, and Liberty.
“U.S. GAAP is founded upon principles, that’s what the P is supposed to stand for.”
– SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker arguing at a Pace University IFRS discussion that GAAP is just as principles-based as IFRS.
All the SEC foot-dragging on IFRS may end up benefiting adopters, if only by buying them a little extra time to get things in order and figure out how on Earth to converge the encyclopedias worth of GAAP rules with IFRS’ pamphlet of principles. At a discussion on global standards hosted by the Pace University School of Business. WebCPA’s Debits and Credits shares some excellent talking points, like this winner from IBM director of IFRS policy and implementation Aaron Anderson:
“We know we have time between now and when the SEC mandates it. We can do a brisk walk instead of a sprint.”
Speaking of the SEC, Chief Accountant James Kroeker is offended by the insinuation that IFRS is more principled-based than our precious GAAP, noting in his speech that “U.S. GAAP is founded upon principles, that’s what the P is supposed to stand for.” GAAR just doesn’t have the same ring to it and it’s a tad too late to be debating semantics if you ask me.
The SEC is understandably cautious, especially having to contend with criticisms in the media over regulatory mishaps that allowed for the unchecked misdeeds of Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, and of course Goldman Sachs (oops). Still, full-on adoption of IFRS implies a complete departure from GAAP and it doesn’t look like Kroeker is comfortable with that idea, even if companies looking to divert the estimated $32 million cost to convert to IFRS totally are.
IFRS Delay Helps Some Companies [WebCPA]
A blue ribbon panel on private company accounting is holding its inaugural meeting Monday, to assess how financial reporting standards can best meet the needs of users of US private company financial statements, which are mostly for bankers and other types of lenders.
The panel, formed by the Financial Accounting Foundation, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, will meet five times throughout the year and will issue a report with recommendations on the future of standard setting for private companies by the end of the year.
The debate has resurfaced after the International Accounting Standard Board issued international standards for private companies last July (called IFRS for SMEs). Financial experts have been discussing this topic for decades. For instance, in 1996, the Financial Executive Research Foundation issued a paper titled “What do users of private company financial statements want?”
Some of the old and new questions the panel will address:
• What is the key, decision-useful information that the various users need from GAAP financial statements?
• Are current GAAP financial statements meeting those needs?
• How does standard setting for private companies in the US compare to standard setting in other countries, both those that have adopted IFRS for small and medium-size entities and those that have not?
To the extent that current GAAP is not meeting user needs in a cost-beneficial manner, what are some possible alternatives or private company standards?
Even if GAAP is found wanting, however, the panel might not be all that keen on IFRS as an alternative, given the limited experience of US companies with the international regime and rising skepticism on the part of the Securities and Exchange Commission about the independence of the body setting international standards.
Not that public or private US companies are eager to switch to IFRS, which will be costly and cumbersome. At this point, it seems as if private ones would rather have the accounting devil they know, except they no doubt wish it were a bit less hellacious on their results. And that’s been pretty much a forlorn hope for years.
Ed. Note: This is the second installment of our dialogue with experts on International Financial Reporting Standards. See our first post with IFAC President Bob Bunting here and if you are an IFRS expert interested in joining the discussion, please contact us at email@example.com
It’s appropriate to disclaim that The Summa’s Professor David Albrecht is a friend of Going Concern and for the most part he and I share similar views on the US conversion to IFRS. If you have not read any of our previous rants
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) will continue to be more prevalent in the accounting landscape. Regardless of the SEC’s strategy of procrastination, it is the opinion of many that it’s a matter of “when” the standards will ultimately be adopted by public companies in the United States, not “if.”
There are many questi have related to this important issue. Accordingly, we’re opening a dialogue with experts of all opinions about IFRS so that you may be better prepared for this monumental development in financial reporting.
Bob Bunting is the President of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). Mr Bunting is former Chairman of the AICPA Board of Directors and the former Chairman and CEO of Moss Adams, serving in that role from 1982 to 2004. He currently serves as the lead partner for Moss Adams’ International Services Group.
Do you support the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards in the United States? Please explain why or why not.
We definitely support the ultimate adoption of IFRS for publicly listed companies in the United States. Our principal trading partners, including Europe, Canada, China, India, Brazil, and Mexico, have already either adopted IFRS or are well on their way to a mandatory adoption date. Most U.S. public companies have at least some exposure to foreign markets and will have to grapple with IFRS even if it’s not the U.S. standard. The cost of conversion to IFRS in the United States will pale in comparison to the long-term costs of dealing with a dominant world standard (IFRS) for out-of-country reporting and having to maintain U.S. GAAP systems and reports for U.S.-only reporting.
What’s the most common argument you hear against IFRS?
There are a number of myths associated with IFRS. One is that it’s a “foreign” standard. In fact, the United States has been a dominant force in the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) from its inception, and the convergence process between the IASB and the U.S. FASB has profoundly affected the shape and direction of IFRS for many years. Another complaint is that IFRS might not be “robust” enough for the U.S. market. This comes in part from the fact that IFRS is principles-based and U.S. GAAP is rules-based. Codified U.S. GAAP runs approximately 17,000 pages of text because of its rules orientation, whereas IFRS runs fewer than 3,000 pages. Since the FASB and IASB have been on a path to converging the two standards for more than six years, it’s hard to argue that one standard is more robust than the other.
If I’m a client that is skeptical of IFRS how do you convince me that A) it’s the best thing for my company from a financial reporting perspective and B) it’s the best thing for my company from a cost perspective?
IFRS may not be the best near-term option for a purely domestic U.S.-based company. However, companies with substantial international footprints have found that the cost of operating under two standards is far greater than operating under one. This cost will seem increasingly burdensome if the United States becomes the only country in the world not using IFRS.
Does it make a difference if the United States follows one set of rules and the rest of the world follows another set of rules?
It could make a huge difference, as the U.S. banking industry discovered in the early stages of the financial crisis. A good illustration of this is the debate over fair value. Multinational companies compete for capital globally. If U.S. and international standards require different approaches to fair value, it’s highly likely that either U.S. companies or their foreign competitors may find that their respective financial performance looks better or worse under one set of standards than the other. Companies reporting under the more attractive standard may report better results. In extreme cases those results could be the difference between apparent success and technical violation of lending covenants or even bankruptcy.
It’s a big challenge for accounting professionals to keep up with the rules that they currently follow. Is it reasonable to expect them to prepare for a switch to standards that will drastically change their methods?
We recognize that many accountants might be tempted to make this argument. However, as capital, trade, and even small companies become more global, an ever-larger portion of the accounting profession has been forced to learn at least two standards (IFRS and U.S. GAAP). This large and growing portion of the accounting workforce recognizes that one standard is a lot easier to keep up with than two. As IFRS grows in its dominance—and make no mistake, it’s overwhelmingly the dominant standard—U.S. accountants run the risk of having their skills marginalized and their job prospects limited by their desire to avoid change.
Only a small number of colleges and universities are implementing international rules and standards in their curriculum. How will higher ed catch up?
I visit with many U.S. accounting professors in my role as president of IFAC. Virtually all that I have met with are introducing IFRS content in their accounting curriculum. Most seem to accept that IFRS is an eventual certainty, and they would love to have better guidance from the regulators so that they can plan for transition better. Additionally, financial reporting is only one part of an accounting education. Integrating IFRS into a curriculum should involve three or four classes out of dozens that accounting students are required to take.
How would you respond to the argument that the only people that will benefit from the conversion to IFRS are the partners in large public accounting firms?
While adoption of IFRS in the United States will create new revenues for some accounting firms, they won’t be the principal beneficiaries. I’m pretty sure that the SEC commissioners did not confirm the IFRS road map to enrich accountants of any stripe. IFRS adoption is ultimately necessary to keep U.S. businesses competitive in the global contest for capital and investors. U.S.-based multinational companies have been strong supporters of IFRS adoption as a means of reducing their financial reporting costs and ensuring a level playing field with their foreign competitors. This ultimately benefits U.S. investors, and this is whom the SEC commissioners are charged with protecting.
The SEC remains cautious with regard to IFRS. What is your reaction to their recent announcement?
The SEC is charged with protecting U.S. investor interests. They’ve expressed concern about the lack of investor input during the comment period following the original publication of the road map. They’ve committed to gathering further input from investors as part of the new work plan. The fact that the commissioners recommitted to the road map, with some changes, suggests that they think adoption of IFRS is more likely than not to be in investors’ best interests. It seems prudent to be cautious and seek more input, but we doubt that the outcome of this process will do much to change the commissioners’ decision.
We really weren’t expecting much of a reaction from accounting firms on the SEC’s conclusion that there’s no rush on the IFRS issue. The Commission statement that it supports “a single set of high quality accounting standards” was good enough for PricewaterhouseCoopers, who issued a press release the day of the announcement.
The press release sounds eerily similar to the SEC’s statement with a quote from Bob Moritz thrown in for good measure:
“PricewaterhouseCoopers continues to support the goal of moving toward a single set of high quality global accounting standards,” said PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Bob Moritz. “We believe that IFRS is in the best interest of stakeholders, including investors both here and globally. We are, therefore, encouraged by these statements from the SEC.”
So PwC is encouraged by the recent development. This isn’t shocking. P. Dubs will be on board because they don’t strike us a bunch that will rock the boat. Presumably, any a hint of discontent from the Firm could potenitally jeopardize their ubiquitous magazine list presence.
On the other hand, we were surprised to see this Tweet from Emily Chasan of Reuters that pointed us to the Grant Thornton press release that came out today.
GT was NOT IMPRESSED with the SEC’s latest commitment to non-commitment, “like many in this country and elsewhere, we were hoping that the SEC would announce a mandatory date for switching to IFRS by U.S. public companies. Instead, the Commission reaffirmed that it expected to decide in 2011, provided resolution of certain issues.”
Now in case you’re questioning GT’s sincerity in this matter, they make their case for why this feet dragging is unacceptable:
Whether the U.S. races or crawls toward IFRS could mean the difference between staying in front or falling behind. The rest of the world is moving forward, boldly. Major economies like Japan, China and India have already chosen IFRS. It is unrealistic — and risky — to think that we can stand outside looking in forever. If we don’t want our influence and opportunities stripped away, we must make sure that we keep a seat at the table.
• Half of US execs want to use IFRS early-survey [Reuters]
KPMG surveyed some shot-callers and lo and behold, half of them are ready to get down with International Financial Reporting Standards before the SEC’s target date of 2015. That’s if the SEC is even down with the whole idea.
KPMG’s surveyed also discovered that executives would like the SEC to be a little more transparent with their plans re: IFRS. You know, other than more meetings.
“Many U.S. companies with subsidiaries around the world are already using IFRS for statutory reporting,” said Janice Patrisso, partner and national IFRS leader at KPMG. “For them, having the option to synchronize it all up front at the U.S. company is a positive.”
Patrisso said companies with international subsidiaries that have already made conversions to IFRS were looking at the way those units had chosen to use the rules. They are also preparing for changes U.S. and international accounting rulemakers are making to converge the two sets of rules.
It’s nice to see some pushback to the SEC’s waffling. Despite where you fall on the IFRS debate, most people would agree that allowing businesses to make their own decisions about what financial reporting method to use (as long as it is consistent and high quality). Especially since the AICPA recognized the IASB as an official standard setter, thus giving private companies the go-ahead on IFRS, shouldn’t public companies be allowed the same freedom?
While the SEC spends the next five years trying to figure out what all this means, some businesses already see where this is going and don’t want to waste time. The SEC isn’t so enthused.
• PW plea on Satyam probe rejected [Business Standard]
Pricewatherhouse India really wants everyone to forget about Satyam. Their latest plea to the Securities regulator in India, the Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI) has been rejected BUT apparently the firm is going to try making their case again. Sigh.
Don’t get any illusions about this case making any progress, “The next step is for ICAI’s disciplinary committee to send notices to the PW auditors charged by law enforcement agencies in the fraud case…this could happen only after the auditors, under judicial remand, are in a position to argue their case before the committee.” And we complain about the bureaucracy here.
• CBPP: 33 States Have Raised Taxes by $32 Billion/Year [TaxProf Blog]
You may have noticed a state fiscal crises here or there in the last couple of years and by God, they’re trying to do something about it. Unfortunately, the most common solution, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, is the raising of taxes. Thirty-three out of 50 states have taken a number of measures from eliminating tax exemptions and broadening tax bases to good old fashioned higher sales, income, or property tax rates.
• Japan embraces new fair value rule [Financial Times via Accountancy Age]
Here’s a novel idea: making a decision on IFRS! Japan’s Financial Services Agency will be allowing companies to adopt the international version of the new fair value rule developed by the IASB, starting Wednesday. Since the world’s second largest economy is opting to pull the trigger on IFRS it may throw the G20’s request/demand for the world to get all kumbaya when it comes to accounting rules.
“Fair value accounting…as unleashed one of the most divisive debates to have emerged from the credit crisis, threatening to disrupt a pledge by the G20 group of leading economies to create a single, global accounting system by mid next year,” reports the FT and judging by the SEC’s indecisiveness, they may be right. With this latest development, now leaders will be able to blame each other’s securities agencies for their particular actions that will likely lead to divergence.
The allowance of Japanese companies to adopt IFRS 9 could also give Knight of the Accounting Roundtable, Sir David Tweedie, even more leverage when dealing with countries around the world to adopt the IFRS.
Right or wrong, the Japanese are sending a signal that they are prepared to move forward while the SEC prepares to have more meetings.
• GAO Criticizes PCAOB Approach to Audit Risk [Web CPA]
The General Accountability Office, never shy to point out the faults of others (that’s kind of what they do, after all), isn’t so keen on the PCAOB’s latest “risk assessment” audit standards. This after the PCAOB originally proposed standards in 2008 and then revised and re-released them late last year.
The GAO feels that the ‘duplication and inconsistencies’ created by the PCAOB’s new standards would likely lead to…more billable hours! So, as you might imagine, some firms are on board:
PricewaterhouseCoopers told the PCAOB, “We fully support the board’s objective to update interim standards regarding risk assessment,”
And some, not so much:
McGladrey & Pullen…warned that “unnecessary differences between the board’s standards and those of other standard-setters increase the costs of performing all audits because firms must develop and maintain two, and even three, audit methodologies and training programs, with no corresponding benefit to audit quality.”
Personally, we’re skeptical of anything that has the unmitigated support of the biggest players in the industry but from a more practical standpoint, do auditors really need more rules to follow? And now this could add to the workload? Is that really necessary?
• Oscar Swag Bags to Result in $91k Income to Celebrity Presenters [TaxProf Blog]
Celebrities have enough tax trouble the way it is, how is giving them gifts going to make their tax returns easier? We’re guessing most of them have smart CPAs working for them that will suggest that they give it all to charity but we may be underestimating the temptation of free luxury swag.
• U.S. delay on global accounting leaves world waiting [Reuters]
The head of financial reporting at the ICAEW is not impressed with the SEC’s plan to string everyone along on IFRS. Although we’re sure Dr. Nigel Sleigh-Johnson is bright guy, we’re not sure what the good doctor was expecting from, you know, the SEC.
Dr. Johnson complains that ‘the world [has] been awaiting clear signals from the Securities and Exchange Commission as to how and when it is going to start the process of completing the convergence to International Financial Reporting Standards,’ which is probably true. Think about it. If 110 countries have jumped on the IFRS ship, they sure as hell would want the US of A on that ship too because that way, if this turns out to be the worst idea in the history of double-entry accounting, then at least the U.S. went along with it too.
• Big Four audits are off the pace [Accountancy Age]
As a group, the Big 4 didn’t fare to well in the inaugural “Accountancy Age Finance 360 survey of client opinions” which asked participants to give their “views on the service they received from their last audit provider”.
Out of twelve firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers ranked the highest at #5, KPMG #9, Deloitte #10, and Ernst & Young brought up the rear at #12. The Age reports that “[E&Y] Staff were described as ‘pretty dire’, short on technical knowledge, confidence and even decent written English. Negative comments outnumbered the positive two to one.” Comments on KPMG and Deloitte were a little better:
While KPMG won plaudits for technical skills, it was let down by perception of its added value, with one FD claiming “very little feedback on potential improvements” their money.
Deloitte also struggled to prove it added value, while clients felt the firm’s audits were “mechanical” and an exercise in “box-ticking”.
One FD felt Deloitte was “more concerned with gathering enough evidence to stand up in court with a defence if there were ever a negligence case”.
All the firms not happy with their ranking essentially said that they were “committed to the highest standards of work” or something like that. You know the drill.
The tops firms in the survey were all included two Global 6 candidates: Mazars at #1 and Grant Thornton at #3 with Horwath Clark Whitehill taking the silver.
• IRS Commissioner Requests Additional $21m So IRS Will Not Answer Taxpayer Phone Calls 25% of the Time [TaxProf Blog]
Doug Shulman asked the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government for $21 million to improve the customer service. Apparently this would result in a 4% jump in calls answered. That sounds like magical government math if we have ever heard it.
AS PREDICTED. And It was unanimous. Sure, it wasn’t the boldest call we’ve ever made here at GC but we thought it was worth pointing out that the SEC really didn’t have much of a choice.
The good news is that the Commission doesn’t need to sweat this for now. They’re just letting everyone know that they’re tepidly re-re-committing to International Financial Reporting Standards but ONLY if the IASB and FASB can pull off meaningful convergence and the IASB stops being a bunch of lily-livered bean counters and tells the pols to BTFO.
Web CPA reports, “In the commission’s vote Wednesday, the SEC reiterated its cautious support for IFRS, contingent upon reaching a number of milestones, including convergence of U.S. GAAP with IFRS and improved governance of the International Accounting Standards Board.”
And even if that happens, the SEC staff has to check everything out so that everyone knows exactly what will result from the U.S. adopting IFRS (probably the rapture). Once that’s settled then we can talk about how this will get done.
Mary Schapiro’s words:
“In 2011, upon conclusion of the fact-gathering and analysis set forth in the work plan – and assuming completion of the convergence projects – the commission will then be in a position to determine whether to incorporate IFRS into the financial reporting system for U.S. public companies. Until that time, we will expect staff to provide periodic written public reports to the commission on the progress of its efforts.”
Back to work everybody. There are future meetings to be planned.
Last year, the AICPA Board of Examiners made it clear that though a roadmap for IFRS adoption in US financial reporting might be a ways off, it intended to start testing IFRS in Financial Accounting and Reporting (mostly, we’ll get to that in a second) in the first window of 2011. Just a friendly reminder, that’s only three testing windows away.
But what gives? According to the 2009 KPMG-AAA Faculty Survey, only 8% of respondents felt as though at least half of their accounting faculty were qualified to teach IFRS. Meanwhile, 70% of professors said their most significant challenge to teaching IFRS was finding room for it in the curriculum.
As far as I am aware, State Boards of Accountancy have not shown a desire to require IFRS coursework to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam at this time.
The Big 87654 committed to pushing IFRS in college classrooms as early as May of 2008 (months before the SEC announced an IFRS adoption roadmap) and they are still tossing millions at the initiative.
In December of 2008, The Summa’s Professor Albrecht insisted that the Big 87654 had certainly chosen the right candidate, lobbying Obama to accomplish their IFRS goals. Why? “Obscene profits,” he says, pointing to campaign contributions and Obama’s subsequent pro-IFRS SEC Chair pick as signs that IFRS doomsday is upon us. A little over a year later, the SEC appears too busy chasing “crime” and playing catch up to issue a clear directive on IFRS in the US.
So? How can the AICPA BoE insist on testing information that A) accounting students still aren’t being taught and B) isn’t widely understood or practiced by most CPAs in the US?
I certainly get what the AICPA is trying to do and if nothing else, they probably want to show off that their awesome psychometric CPA exam technology is OMGamazing! and ready to adapt in a timely and efficient manner. But pushing IFRS on unsuspecting CPA exam candidates isn’t really the way to demonstrate that.
Is it just a coincidence that now the AICPA is prepared to reevaluate their scoring process after the first two testing windows of 2011? Even they know this is an awful idea.
Deutsche Babk need someone to join their Finance Division; preferably someone that has knowledge of both U.S. GAAP, IFRS and bonus points for you if you know anything about German HGB accounting.
The position requires at least four years experience and a CPA/MBA is desirable.
Get more details after the jump.
Company: Deutsche Bank
Title: Finance Manager – VP
Location: New York, NY
Experience: 4 – 8 years
Selected responsibilities: All DB legal entity financial reporting for a number of subsidiaries supported in DE. This includes all general ledger balances, and reporting oversight for risk, intercompany reconciliation, regulatory and management purposes; Requires compliance with corporate and regulatory policies. Must be able to identify when a transaction may impact certain key policies, and know when to refer issues to key contacts in treasury, accounting policy, legal, tax and regulatory areas; Work with Accounting Policy and DB Advisory to properly apply GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) to transactions initiated by business lines that will be recorded on legal entities.
Qualifications: BS/BA Accounting and 4-8 years work experience in financial accounting; CPA or MBA is desirable, but equivalent experience acceptable; Experience with SAP, Essbase and or BCS (Business Consolidation System) a plus; Good knowledge in IFRS GAAP and/or US GAAP needed. Any knowledge of German HGB accounting standards a big plus.
Tim Geithner has inadvertently given his endorsement to standardized financial regulation around the globe, so is he also giving the adoption of IFRS in the US his approval?
Possibly, since he told ABC that “he wasn’t worried that tighter financial regulation would put U.S. banks at an international disadvantage. ‘I’m very confident we can make sure that we are working very closely to raise global standards around the world so we have a level playing field,’ Geithner said.” His motivations are only slightly suspect. Why?
Under IFRS, assets are overstated as derivatives are measured in gross exposure, as opposed to GAAP which concerns itself with net value. More magic financial reporting; of course Geithner would want to see banks magically healed by a change in accounting. If we’re going to do it, let’s also restate years 1999 – 2009 so we can compare at least.
Incredible what a slight adjustment can do (See also: page 19 of the Deutsche Bank report “Financial Transparency” – bwhahaha).
Speaking to the G7 finance ministers in Iqaluit, Canada this weekend, Geithner reiterated his commitment to globalization, accounting magic, and the heavy hand of regulation.
“We all share a deep commitment to try to move forward and reach agreement on a strong, comprehensive set of financial reforms on the timetable we all committed to last September,” he said at a closing press conference following a meeting of Group of Seven finance chiefs.
“That means agreement on … a new set of capital requirements for large global institutions by the end of this year,” he added, playing down the possibility that the Obama administration might be headed in a different direction from other governments.
Timmy is also somehow convinced that the United States will never lose its AAA rating but he forgets that the MBSs that the Fed is buying were also AAA once upon a time too. He also seems to have forgotten about our massive deficit.
At least he remembered to push the globalization agenda he’s been blabbering about all this time.
As you’re aware, we’re obsessed with the notion of the ‘Global 6 Accounting Organization’ moniker. On the one hand it’s a little silly but on the other, many non-Big 4 firms are making a legitimate run to expand their international exposure.
The latest attempt at piercing the Global 6 comes courtesy of a possible merger between the firms Weiser and Mazars. According to Weiser’s website, the two firms currently have an affiliate relationship:
Mazars is an international, integrated, independent organization, ranked fifth largest in Europe. Weiser has established a joint venture with Mazars utilizing its 10,500 professionals in over 50 countries, as needed, to expand the firm’s global reach.
According to the FT, the combined firms will make a push a building their firm around providing IFRS adoption services:
Mazars and Weiser, which have had a joint venture agreement for a decade, decided to merge with the aim of building a new US practice focusing on the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards by US companies, according to sources.
Weiser partners believe they will have an advantage in the US market working with European partners with extensive experience of IFRS.
We have a little secret to share with the Weiser partners: The Big 4 has European partners will extensive experience in IFRS too. They’re drooling for the IFRS adoption business just like you so hope you’re coming with super-secret plan that will give you a real advantage.
We contacted a Mazars spokesperson who confirmed that the talks were on-going but told us that the contract has yet to be finalized and that both partnerships will have to vote on the proposal. The vote is tentatively set for February or March.
Whether this is the “mega-merger” that was predicted back in August or not we don’t know but the combined firms would have total revenues of $1.3 billion, according to the FT. That’s just a fraction of the Big 4 revenues but it could put them in close competition with the likes of Grant Thornton, RSM International, and BDO.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress of the talks as we learn them.
So much so that he wrote a letter. The BDO
International Global Coordiation CEO and infrequent blogger sent his letter to the Financial Times today in response to previous letters to the FT that unequivocally placed the blame for the financial apocalypse on accounting rules.
Newman, who strikes as the mild-mannered sort, comes as close to telling all the haters out there, “OH, HELL NO” as one might expect:
Sir, It is unfortunate if people are persuaded that accounting rules are to blame for bad lending decisions and poor investments (Letters, December 29). Banks, and other financial institutions, needed injections of monies from governments (and others) because they lost money and were short of cash – not merely because of accounting issues. Inadequate bad debt provisions, if such was the case, may have resulted in unduly large bonuses being paid but it was not the bonuses that created the cash shortages – it was the poor lending decisions that resulted in such bad debts. Equally, accounting rules did not result in companies overpaying for acquisitions – it was the poor investment decisions that resulted in a decision to overpay.
It’s pretty clear that J. New is sick and tired of everything being blamed on accounting rules and he figured writing a stern (but cordial) letter to the FT was the best way to draw the line in the sand. While that might have some effect, we would invite him to cut loose (read: go completely ape shit) on his blog to tell those IFRS haters what they can do with their pointer fingers. If you want us to read a draft JN, we’re here for you buddy.
Poor business decisions were behind losses [FT]
Every knight lays down his sword at some point and Tweeds is no exception. The IASB Chairman will hang up his 10-key when his current term ends in June 2011.
According to Emily Chasan at Reuters, DT thought about calling it quits last year after the pols torpedoed mark-to-market in the name of bank lobbyists. Sensing that the true Holy Grail was within reach, Tweedie stayed on:
[H]e has said he stayed because he wanted to continue the convergence process, which is beginning to reach its goal of having a single set of high quality accounting standards used around the globe. The U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board and the IASB have redoubled efforts to complete their major convergence projects by a June 2011 deadline set by the G20 group of leading countries.
Now the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation, which oversees the board, is on the search for the next bean counter in shining armor. Since Tweeds gave plenty of notice, it won’t likely be the shitshow search like Bank of America has on its hands (until very recently perhaps) but the IASCF is searching all the corners of the world for the replacement and they need to come up with somebody good.
If they put some empty suit in there, the likes of Silvio Berlusconi will be writing the revised contingent liabilities standard. Lord knows we don’t need that. We need someone that doesn’t mind telling pols to BTFO of accounting biznass. Pols like Eddy “If you had just involved us in the monitoring of the IASB we wouldn’t be in this mess” Wymeersch, who probably couldn’t tell the difference between his ass and the basic accounting equation. Feel me, IASCF?
Now since that’s clear, if you’ve got any suggestions or purely want to speculate on who you will be in the big chair next (Tim Flynn? Mary Schapiro? Phil Mickelson? that smug guy in the cube next to you that got a 98 on FARE?) drop them in the comments.
IASB’s Tweedie to retire when term ends in 2011 [Emily Chasan/Reuters]
Trustees seek nominations for Chairman of the IASB from 2011 [Press Release]
See also: Kroeker Stresses Importance of Investors in IFRS Decision; Search Is On For Next Chairman Of IASB When Tweedie Retires in 2011 [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
Sir David Tweedie and his fellow non-knighted wonks have released IFRS 9, Financial Instruments today to much anticipation. For those companies that were chomping at the bit, you can adopt pronto but nothing is mandatory until the end of 2012.
You got to hand it to Tweeds. The BSD at the G20 demanded that the IASB take another look (read: change) at this fair value thing ASAP and he delivered, AS PROMISED:
We have delivered on our commitment to the G20 and stakeholders internationally to provide an improved financial instrument standard for the classification and measurement of financial assets for use in 2009. Benefiting from unprecedented levels of consultation with stakeholders around the world, the IASB has made significant changes in its initial proposals to improve the standard, provide enhanced transparency and respond to stakeholder concerns.
Very impressive, so the ball is your court, Norwalk. You better get off your asses and come up with something good because none of you have knighthood and we haven’t seen much evidence of your re-quadrupled efforts. We already know that you’re talking Plan B but give us something, anything. You’re worried about Congress, sure but the Europeans are making you look bad. Is there any American knight-ish equivalent that Bob Herz could get that would help give him a boost in confidence?
If you’ve got suggestions, leave them in the comments. We’re at a total loss.
IASB completes first phase of financial instruments accounting reform [IASB Press Release]
New fair value standard rushed out by IASB [Accountancy Age]