FASB forum to consider use of global accounting standards by U.S. companies

The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) announced Friday that they will host a forum entitled High-Quality Global Accounting Standards: Issues and Implications for U.S. Financial Reporting. The purpose of the forum is for the FAF and the FASB to open a dialogue with constituents about whether and how to continue to move the U.S. toward high-quality global accounting standards, the FAF and FASB's press release says.

The forum will take place Monday, June 16, 2008, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Baruch College, in New York, NY.

Panelists will include users of financial statements, representatives of small and large companies both public and private, auditors, regulators, educators, and others representing facets of the U.S. economy that would be affected if there were a move from U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Issues expected to be discussed include:

  • Whether IFRS and U.S. GAAP should ultimately converge and, if so, how and when;

  • How to prepare the U.S. for a possible shift to IFRS;

  • Issues of accounting education and professional certification;

  • Regulatory and tax issues;

  • Potential effects on reporting by private companies and not-for-profit entities; and

  • The future role of the FASB.

    The FAF and FASB have supported the idea of moving U.S. companies to an improved version of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Writing in November 2007 in response to a Concept Release by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the boards stated that they believe, "Investors would be better served if all U.S. public companies used a common set of internationally converged accounting standards, best accomplished by moving U.S. public companies to an improved version of IFRS." The letter recommended the creation of a transition plan or blueprint for moving the U.S. toward a single set of high-quality, global accounting standards.

    Acknowledging the efforts of FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to improve and converge financial reporting standards since 2002, Chairman Robert Herz states in the press release announcing the forum that, "While we are closer to the goal of a single set of high-quality, global accounting standards, many challenging issues - both domestically and internationally - remain to be addressed and resolved."

    Due to limited space, individuals interested in observing the panel must pre-register online to be admitted to the event. The Forum will also be webcast live on www.fasb.org. To register, or for more information, log on to the Convergence Forum Web site.

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