Global support for ‘uniform’ accounting standard

The survey, staged by the International Chamber of Commerce and the Munich-based Ifo Institute, revealed that the experts generally considered uniform principles were either ‘very important,’ (51per cent), or ‘important,’ (46%), for achieving higher standards.

Only three per cent said they were ‘unimportant.’ In its analysis of the response, culled from experts in 90 countries, Ifo said: ‘These high percentages obviously reflect the Enron affair.’

Meanwhile, 75 per cent of the sample ‘considered that stronger corporate governance, including disclosure, was more effective than tougher government regulation in improving financial reporting.’

The survey results come just a week after the European Commission finally endorsed a directive that will compel all companies to use International Accounting Standards by 2005 in Europe. Another survey, produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers, revealed 81% of European CFOs want to start using IAS before 2005, though they also demonstrated a general lack of preparedness.

In western Europe and Latin America, 70 per cent favoured stronger corporate governance, while 30 per cent chose tougher regulation. This was the highest demand for regulation; in Australia and New Zealand, there was a near unanimous preference for stronger corporate governance, (99 per cent).

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