Herz measures up FASB for a wooden overcoat

The history of the profession is littered with defunct standard-setting
bodies. The Accounting Standards Board, after all, spends much of its time these
days discussing whether it should exist.

The US Financial Accounting Standards Board may be going the same way, after
the strides towards convergence became giant leaps.

The 34-year-old US Financial Accounting Standards Board has already hinted of
its natural demise at a recent roundtable, when chairman Robert Herz said: ‘As
the king of GAAP, its like contemplating your own mortality… But you have to
move on.’

Herz went further in a letter to the
Securities and Exchange
last week ­ in response to proposals to drop the reconciliation
statement for foreign issuers and allow US companies the choice between US GAAP
and IFRS ­ suggesting that it could lose its standing on account of the
country’s transition to IFRS.

Some in the profession have already suggested that the FASB could go on to
become a standard-setter for private companies and non-profit organisations,
while others believe it could become the liaison between the IASB and US

The same questions will no doubt crop up in relation to the UK’s own
Accounting Standards Board, which, some may argue, already struggles to validate
its continuation.

The exit of the FASB will probably only occur in about five years time, by
which time it is estimated that a national blueprint for moving US companies to
international standards will be rolled out.

It will be the final nail in the coffin in local accounting governance, and
herald the beginning of the super regulator that the IASB is set to become. Who
is next for Sir David Tweedie’s axe?

Related reading

Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.