A senior US accounting oversight board member has dealt an unexpected blow to
plans to introduce international accounting rules, saying it could set American
markets back by ‘light years’.
Charles Niemeier, an influential member of the Public Company Accounting
Oversight Board, said the switch to IFRS by 2014 could squander comparability
among US financial statements and impede the ability of the regulators and
auditors to do their jobs.
‘IFRS has the potential to de-link us from our regulatory model,’ Niemeier
told a delegation at the New York State Society of CPAs conference.
Niemeier’s term with the PCAOB ends next month but he will remain until his
replacement is appointed.
He said that Sarbanes-Oxley had gone a long way toward improving the quality
of US markets and that a move to IFRS would leave US with rules which are more
difficult to enforce, Reuters reported.
Niemeier said it was a myth that US GAAP was too broken to be fixed and that
priciples-based IFRS would be better.
‘IFRS is not more principles-based, it’s just younger,’ he said, adding that
US GAAP also started as a set of principles.
He noted that tested US GAAP had left the US with rules which are predictable
and consistent, and should be prized due to the unique nature of US markets.
‘No one else has litigation like us. What makes sense overseas may not make
sense for us,’ he said.
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