IFRS in Perspective | AccountingWEB

IFRS in Perspective

Bruce Pounder, MBA, CMA, CFM, DipIFR (ACCA) is an internationally recognized expert on corporate financial reporting and the global convergence of financial reporting standards. He has two decades of firsthand financial reporting experience as the CFO of a privately held corporation and has served as a financial reporting consultant to many public corporations. Currently Bruce is President of Leveraged Logic, a leading provider of educational products and services to accounting professionals. He is the author of the 2010 U.S. Master GAAP Guide (CCH), the Convergence Guidebook for Corporate Financial Reporting (Wiley), and the monthly "Financial Reporting" column of Strategic Finance magazine. Bruce also presents the live webcast series "This Week in Accounting."

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In 2011, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will decide whether to require, allow, or continue to forbid the use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by public U.S. companies in their SEC filings. We'll also see new accounting standards for revenue, leases, and financial instruments introduced into IFRS and U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) – standards that will be the same in both IFRS and U.S. GAAP but unlike any currently found in either set of standards. Meanwhile, both public and private U.S. companies that participate in the global economy will increasingly find themselves having to use current IFRS in addition to—not instead of—current U.S. GAAP in order to meet statutory financial reporting requirements imposed by other countries.
This blog post concludes a series that explains the rationale for the United States and other countries to collaborate in creating a single, global registry of financial reporting standards. In this post, I'll explain why the "single-sandbox" approach is more likely to produce benefits for the United States and other countries than present attempts to obtain universal agreement on a single set of standards emanating from a single standard-setter.
This blog post is the third of a series that explains the rationale for the United States and other countries to collaborate in creating a single, global registry of financial reporting standards rather than a single set of standards emanating from a single standard-setter. In this post, I'll explain how the "single-sandbox" approach would maximize the quality of the financial reporting standards used in the United States and throughout the world. As such, I'll be addressing one of the most strident objections to present efforts to converge financial reporting standards on a global basis.
I'm interrupting my "Single Sandbox" series of posts to direct your attention to an opinion piece I wrote on the SEC's February 24, 2010 announcement regarding IFRS and convergence.
This blog post is the second of a series that explains the rationale for the United States and other countries to collaborate in creating a single, global registry of financial reporting standards rather than a single set of standards emanating from a single standard-setter. In my last post, I explained how the "single-sandbox" approach would significantly enhance the comparability of financial statements prepared in accordance with registered financial reporting standards without imposing a one-size-fits-all solution on reporting entities. In this post, I'll explain four ways in which the single-sandbox approach would drive non-value-adding costs out of the financial reporting supply chain.
I previously suggested in this blog that the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and other standard-setters throughout the world should establish a single, global registry of financial reporting standards. The fundamental premise of my suggestion is that having a global registry would accelerate the elimination of differences in financial reporting standards among countries while maximizing the benefits that we would derive from more-similar standards, without expecting anyone to give up quality, sovereignty, or anything else they're reluctant to give up. This post is the first of many that will describe why a "single sandbox" approach makes more sense than expecting the whole world to agree on a single set of standards or a single standard-setter.
As I've discussed in my previous posts, anyone who's asking whether the United States should stick with current U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or switch to current International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is asking the wrong question. That's because we have more and better options to choose from in determining the future of financial reporting in the United States. In this post, I'll describe another alternative for us to consider—a realistic, practical approach that has a better chance of maximizing the economic welfare of both the United States and the rest of the world.
As I noted in my last post, it's difficult to argue that there should be any material differences in the portrayal of the same economic situation among reporting entities in different countries. Consequently, for general-purpose financial reporting, it makes sense for similar reporting entities throughout the world to use the same set of high-quality standards. But having researched this situation for years, one thing is clear to me: neither U.S. GAAP nor International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are feasible candidates for the single, global set of standards that would most benefit individuals, companies, and countries.
In my previous posts, I discussed the importance of setting public-policy goals with regard to financial reporting standards in general before we in the United States attempt to make any public-policy decisions specifically with regard to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). In this post, I'll describe two distinct public-policy issues related to financial reporting standards and I'll explain why it's important for us to distinguish between them. I'll also emphasize that we must address both issues if we're to make any progress toward formulating appropriate public-policy goals.
If you're just tuning in to "IFRS in Perspective," welcome! My blog focuses on the role that IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) can and should play in the future of financial reporting in the United States. In my last post, I discussed the importance of setting broad public-policy goals with regard to financial reporting standards in general before we attempt to make any public-policy decisions specifically with regard to IFRS. To set appropriate goals, we must first reach consensus on the desirable attributes of such goals. That is, we must seek agreement on criteria that will help us assess proposed goals and identify which goals would be better for us to embrace than others. I've developed a set of such goal-setting criteria, and in this post I'll share those criteria with you. More importantly, I'll also be sharing a few thoughts on how we must apply the criteria in order to ensure that the public-policy goals we set are truly appropriate.


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