US rapped for IFRS indecision

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Ian Mackintosh has said that IFRS will not be a global standard unless it is “uniformly implemented and applied"

Speaking at the ICAEW Financial Reporting Faculty’s annual IFRS conference today, he said the last few years have been a success story in terms of a more unified approach to accounting standards, but admitted that they have not yet reached the “end game”.

“We are much further ahead than we could have imagined ten years ago, with more than 100 countries using the standard,” added the vice-chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).

His speech centred on the progress made towards IRFS in the last decade during a period of “revolution in financial reporting”, and response to consultation on standards globally.

Mackintosh acknowledged there have been difficulties up this point, including the “disappointing non-decision from the US.”

He added that excluding the US would be beyond IASB level and to do so would be “fickle.”

Earlier in the day, Bob Herz, former chair of the FASB, told delegates that "appetite has waned significantly” for IFRS in the US due to the lack of decisions and the global financial crisis. Other speakers raised concerns that if the US did not sign up to IFRS, other countries might not follow.

According to Mackintosh, big hold ups in Asia include the business community in Japan, "who are not very keen on change,” and that “India keeps making encouraging noises, but not making a decision.”

He said he is excited that the Accounting Advisory Board will provide technical advice and feedback to the IASB.

The new forum is designed to create a “more streamlined and effective dialogue between the IASB and this important group of stakeholders from the standard-setting community.”

Mackintosh also praised a new ICAEW report on the future of IFRS, and agreed with the report that inclusivity is crucial, and “we should spend more time evidence gathering.”

The IASB are planning to get a discussion paper out by the middle of next year.

Raymond Doherty

 

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