Worldwide Accounting Standards Gaining Momentum

A new International Accounting Standards Board was appointed today and charged with the task of tackling the tangled mess of different country-by-country accounting standards to devise a single set of accounting rules by which all of the world's nations and businesses can function.

The group was named by the International Accounting Standards Committee, a group comprised of financial professionals from 14 countries and chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

The 14 members of the board recognize that this is no easy task, but a critical one for the global marketplace. "The potential benefit to the world economy by removing barriers to investment through applying uniform, high-quality standards is enormous," said Sir David Tweedie, Chairman of the IASB.

The IASB has outlined a number of benefits of international accounting standards to auditors, users, preparers and regulators of financial information and statements:

  • The availability of common and more reliable financial data should facilitate international investment and reduce the cost of capital worldwide.

  • Accounting costs for multinational firms operating in different jurisdictions will be reduced with the narrowing and eventual elimination of national differences.

  • Regulators will benefit from the greater consistency and quality of information.

Fourteen members were appointed to the Board, including four from the USA:

  • Mary E. Barth: Professor of Accounting at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University

  • Anthony T. Cope: a member of the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board since 1993

  • Robert H. Herz: a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers

  • James J. Leisenring: current Director of International Activities of the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board

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