Web helps drive international standards

Keegan, who has been championing the fight for global standards over the last 10 years, told ‘We have been obsessed with putting information onto the web. Now, we’re looking at taking it off the web using XBRL. It is so much more important that data is compiled in the same way.’

XBRL, the new reporting language will help businesses exchange financial information across all technology formats.

Keegan, who is head of global corporate reporting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, made the comments as the drive for global accounting standards was stepped up last week at a European conference hosted by the International Accounting Standards Committee.

‘Accountants will not only have to provide information quickly, but also correctly. You have to make sure your figures and analysis are based on immediate grounds,’ Olivier Giscard D’Estaing, president of the Committee for a World Parliament, warned delegates at the English ICA’s education and globalisation conference last week.

‘Just as the European Commission made a bold, good move, so we are seeing other governments, as in the Asia Pacific area, taking notice,’ said Keegan in response the EC’s endorsement of a core set of international accounting standards earlier this year.

Provided the club of standard-setters remains accountable, she believes convergence and international co-operation was possible.

Despite her optimism at the pace of change, Keegan urged companies and countries to ensure adequate educational and professional infrastructures were in place to absorb the changes.

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