Kroeker’s SEC role raises hopes for US adoption of global rules

The selection of James Kroeker as the Securities and Exchange Commission’s
new chief accountant has allayed fears that the US would resist global
accounting standards.

Chairman Mary Schapiro’s selection for the senior role was announced last
week after an eight-month wait which saw speculation mount over the SEC’s
attitude towards global standards. Kroeker’s appointment brought with it a sigh
of relief on both sides of the Atlantic, from proponents of US adoption of
global accounting rules.

A partner in a Big Four firm described Kroeker as a man ‘tuned’ into the
international standards debate and potentially open to the principles-based
model of international accounting rules.

‘In many respects he does represent the type of thinking which is conducive
to dealing with accountancy decisions from a principles-based perspective,’ he
said. ‘There was a short list of five people that came out a while back and
Kroeker was the person most open to IFRS adoption.’

Meanwhile, the US accounting rule maker, the Financial Accounting Standards
Board, is in the process of marrying American accounting rules with
international standards.

The SEC, however, has yet to officially sign off on the transition, egged on
by voices within the US financial world who think America should rethink whether
it adopts international standards.

Some of these voices where rumoured to be in the running for the chief
accountant role, a move which hinted at the SEC’s potential reluctance to take
on international standards. However, in Kroeker, the SEC has found a moderate.

In 2007, Kroeker, then deputy chief accountant, expressed support for the
principles-based accounting model which underpins global accounting rules.

‘The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting
Standards Board are in the process of improving their existing conceptual
frameworks, and I encourage them to see that process through to completion,’ he
said at the time.

He also hinted that the SEC would be prepared to accept a principles-based
financial reporting model.

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