RegulationAccounting StandardsSchapiro backs IASB-FASB agreement

Schapiro backs IASB-FASB agreement

SEC chief expresses public support for drive towards global accounting standards

The head of the US financial regulator has expressed support for
reinvigorated efforts to harmonise accounting standards.

Mary Schapiro, chairman of the US Securities and Exchanges Commission,
yesterday said she was encouraged by a renewed commitment by the US and
international standard setters to transparency and arriving at agreed accounting
standards.

In recent weeks, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and
International Accounting Standards Board have (IASB) committed themselves to
redouble efforts to converge international and American accounting rules, with a
view to bringing in a truly global language for finance.

The two organisations say they are on track to meet a June 2011 deadline for
convergence. The standards will however need SEC approval before they are used
by American companies, some of which are reluctant to take on the new rules.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding to greater transparency between
the IASB and FASB yesterday led Schapiro to release a short, two-sentence
statement expressing support for the move.

“I am greatly encouraged by the commitment of the IASB and the FASB to
provide greater transparency to the standard setting process and their
convergence efforts,” she said.

“I believe that these efforts will result in improved financial information
provided to investors.”

However, internally the SEC is yet to commit to a timetable for US adoption
of the rules.

The SEC has until December 21 to release its recommendations on the US
roadmap for adoption of international standards. Submissions received by the SEC
however have exposed divisions within the US financial community about when and
how the US should adopt the standards.

Julie Erhardt, deputy chief accountant at the SEC, described the submissions
as “an array” including “Every possible idea you could think of on how to get
there”.

“There was no unanimity,” she said.

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