Standards – IASC urged to deliver

English ICA deputy president Chris Swinson this week warned the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) to speed up its deliberations on harmonisation and broaden its outlook if it did not want to be superseded by market forces.

‘The international framework will not persist unless the IASC can sustain thought leadership,’ said Swinson, who assumes the English ICA presidency later this year.

He warned if slowness was built into the committee structure, national bodies such as the US accounting standards body FASB would move to fill the standards vacuum.

Swinson, senior partner with BDO Stoy Hayward, was responding to a progress report from Sir Bryan Carsberg, the IASC secretary general, at the International Accounting Standards Conference in Brussels on Tuesday.

Carsberg said the IASC was aiming to complete its long-term project to deliver a core set of international standards to the International Organisation of Securities Commissions in November. An eight-month delay from April was needed to give the IASC time to agree a ‘transitional’ standard for financial instruments.

He also said the IASC’s strategy working party would deliver restructuring proposals for international standard-setting in 2000. Swinson, however, said some of the delays came from ‘games’ played by national standards bodies.

Sir David Tweedie, UK Accounting Standards Board chairman, accepted the possibility of the international initiative losing momentum, but said national standards committees still had a role to play.

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