IASB Set to Release New Rules

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) was expected yesterday to release its final set of rules, which public companies in the European Union and other countries will be required to follow starting next year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The rules come despite a continuing dispute between the IASB and the European Union about how rules governing how banks and insurers account for complex financial instruments, the Journal reported. IASB would require the instruments to be valued at current market prices or fair value on company balance sheets. The EU fears this would case volatility in bank and insurance company financial results.

IASB Chairman David Tweedie predicts the issue will be resolved by the end of the year.

"It is progress that [the IASB] has recognized the need to continue discussions on the outstanding issues," Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for Frits Bolkestein, the European commissioner for internal markets who has led the EU's opposition to the new standards as they now stand, told the Journal.

More than 90 countries plan to require or allow companies to use the new international standards next year, but U.S. companies are still following U.S. rules. IASB and FASB are working to one day create a single set of rules that investors and companies around the world can use.

The IASB standards set for publication this week include a rule that keeps companies from using an accounting technique known as "pooling of interests," which treats acquisitions as a merger of equals, the Journal reported. This technique is no longer allowed by the U.S.

Companies will also no longer be allowed to amortize goodwill, which is the difference between an asset’s book value and what the company paid for it, the Journal reported. The IASB is also expected to set up two international working parties to hammer out the differences that remain with the EU in regards to some of the proposed rules.

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