McCreevy fails to back global SME standards

European commissioner Charlie McCreevy

Reluctant: european commissioner Charlie McCreevy

European commissioner Charlie McCreevy has revealed he is reluctant to
endorse new global accounting standards for Europe’s 19 million SMEs, placing
the EU in danger of falling behind the rest of the world in adopting the rules.

The standards, due for release in early July, are aimed at harmonising
accounting standards for SMEs across the globe and have received support from
emerging countries and the United States. The European Union however is treating
the standards’ release with caution.

Citing ‘negative’ and ‘mixed’ reactions by EU stakeholders, a spokesman said
McCreevy had come to no formal position and that it was too early to say how
stakeholders would react. ‘Commissioner McCreevy was concerned about the
negative reactions by EU stakeholders to the [2007] exposure draft,’ the
spokesman said. ‘The responses… in February 2007, have been rather mixed in the
European Union.’

He said there was no set process to deal with the regulations and SMEs were
covered by existing legislation.

Some European nations, including the UK, have expressed support for the new

Globally, emerging economies, especially from Africa and South America, have
led the push for SME standards with South Africa adopting the standards in draft
form in October 2007.

EU members and stakeholders fear the standards, which are voluntary, will be
foisted upon them.

The European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry told the IASB
in 2007 that the rules should not result in any ‘legal obligation’ on
businesses. In the same year the Association of German Chambers of Industry and
Commerce echoed the concerns, insisting the new rules be ‘voluntary’.

In contrast, outgoing IASB vice chairman Thomas Jones said the new standards
were attracting ‘real enthusiasm’ from the United States.

‘I think we are going to see the US do something that accepts the take up of
SME (standards)… but each country will decide for it self.’

SMEs contribute around 50% of GDP, and 60% of employment in national or local
economies, according to 2004 OECD figures.

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