New rules, but UK plc behind times

Speaking at the yearly ‘Meet the Experts’ two-day conference at the London Hilton, Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the IASB, told delegates that at least 12 new international standards would be due out next year.

‘2003 is when we’re trying to get our standards completely in place so we will have to get used to them,’ said Sir David, formerly chairman of the UK’s Accounting Standards Board.

Around 7,000 listed European companies must switch over to IASs by 2005 at the latest, due to a European ruling.

But, Ian Wright, partner in charge of global corporate reporting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, warned ‘the UK is yet to switch on’.

‘Germany, France and the Netherlands are switched on,’ he added.

When asked why the UK seemed complacent about the shift over to IASs from UK GAAP, Sir David intervened to point out that ‘over the last 10 years UK standards have been very much linked to international standards’.

And he confirmed that despite widespread opposition from business and ‘letters from US senators and congressmen’ the IASB would issue a standard on share-based payment.

‘My own view is that a [share option] is certainly an expense,’ he said.

The tardiness of UK plc to get to grips with the adoption of a whole new set of global reporting rules has led PwC to launch a new IAS interactive CD-ROM to train and test all levels of employees on their knowledge of the new standards.

Designed to provide practical training p2p IAS – from principle to practice was developed to help employees grasp the new corporate reporting requirements under IAS.

Wright said: ‘A network of IAS literate employees will make the transistion much easier to achieve and help prepare stakeholders for possible changes to the bottom line. Markets don’t like surprises and sudden changes in reported information could impact the share price.’

Following 18 months development the product was rolled out internally at PwC and now the final solution will be offered externally.

One of the challenges the developers now face however is ‘keeping it current’ due to the imminent publication of new IASs.


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