ACCA: IFRS gaining popularity

by Rose Orlik

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12 Oct 2011

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GLOBAL REPORTING STANDARDS are gaining popularity among investors and finance executives, according to a new report by ACCA.

Around 170 senior executives and investors were questioned. More than 40% said international financial reporting standards improve access to capital, while around 25% believe the global standards have lowered capital costs.

ACCA chief executive Helen Brand said: "Growing support amongst CFOs and investors for [IFRS] must be considered carefully" by US regulator the SEC as it debates converging US GAAP with international standards.

"We believe a positive answer from the SEC would give a tremendous boost to the cause of financial reporting and more importantly the world economy," she continued.

Just over half of respondents said the financial crisis has improved their opinion of IFRS, while 60% view the standards as "facilitators of more consistent regulation".

Brand continued: "I am pleased to see that key stakeholders in the financial reporting process such as investors and CFOs are increasingly showing support for global accounting standards."

However, she warned the value of IFRS in terms of facilitating cross-border comparison would be compromised by excessive amendments at the domestic level.

"It is essential that national policymakers resist as far as possible the temptation to include issues which may be important in their countries but which, when aggregated, will threaten the integrity of the international regime. Global standards need to be just that - global."

The report comes shortly before the SEC is due to decide whether it will adopt IFRS. Some enthusiasts are calling for a 'big bang' approach with large listed companies switching to global standards as soon as possible.

However, critics favour a much slower approach and the SEC has mooted "condorsement", a gradual strategy whereby IFRS and US GAAP come together through a mixture of convergence and endorsement.

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