What can the World Cup teach us about accounting rules? (Other than rampant corruption is only real if you believe it is.)
That it would be chaos if participants showed up to a global contest with their own set of rules. That's sort of what we have going on in global financial reporting, if you can believe former EY CEO Jim Turley.
Here he is taking questions from students at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business in 2010:
When the floor was opened up for questions from the students, Turley touched on topics that span the gambit of his knowledge, insights and industry. From providing suggestions for which skills students should foster (an open view of the world and a desire to always ask questions), to encouraging the creation of a global set of accounting standards (which he likened to soccer teams showing up at the world cup and each having a different set of rules), Turley challenged his audience to think critically about the future.
Imagine all those guys running around the field having no idea what the other team's rules are. There'd be even less rhyme or reason to the game than there is now.
Turley's comparison may be apt, but the problem is that quest for "one global set of high quality standards" has more flops than all the World Cup tournaments combined.