IASB branded ‘arrogant’ by accounting prof

Accounting standard-setters have been branded undemocratic and ‘arrogant’ for
failing to change the principles of reporting to reflect global economic

David Middleton, emeritus professor of Finance and Accounting at Cranfield
School of Management has described the International Accounting Standards Board,
IASB, and the European Union as alike in their failure to consult.

‘There are striking similarities between the IASB and the European Union.
Both are driven by well-meaning, intelligent, determined people. But they seem
unable to listen to reasoned disagreement or to trust people to exercise their
own judgment,’ wrote Professor Middleton in a letter to the

He added that 12 years ago the then six leading British accountancy firms
expressed ‘grave doubts’ about the UK Accounting Standards Board’s draft
statement of principles of financial reporting and its practical implications.

But despite this, the final version of reporting principles, which largely
derived from the American Financial Accounting Standards Board’s framework, was
‘little changed’, he claimed.

His comments follow an earlier letter, which also appeared in the Financial
Times, from Michael Starkie, a former chairman of the UK’s CBI financial
reporting panel and chief accountant for BP.

Starkie accused the IASB of ‘wasting’ an opportunity to change the principles
to reflect changes in global markets as US influence has waned.

In particular, he was critical of the mark-to-model exit values in balance
sheets, which he maintains are unhelpful for assessing the economic position of
companies wishing to continue as going concerns.

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