Relief as IASB wins positive support from G20

The threat of undermining the
International Accounting
Standards Board
was averted at the weekend when the G20 nations gave
wholehearted support to a single set of global standards.

The meeting in Washington placed accounting standards at the heart of its
five-point plan to reform global financial markets, but fears that the heads of
state would ask the IASB to assume a responsibility for financial stability
through the setting of standards were not borne out.

It was feared a stability remit would be incompatible with the IASB’s core
role of ensuring financial transparency, placing the body in an untenable
position. However, not only did the IASB and its current mission receive G20’s
blessing, but the US finally issued its roadmap to IFRS convergence, another
major act of support for the work of the IASB.

An IASB insider said: ‘The G20 statement was very positive. It’s important
that it came from the biggest economic players in the world.’

There were concerns before the Washington meeting that the independence of
the IASB would come under attack. Gerrit Zalm, chairman of the board’s parent
body the IASC, even wrote a letter directly to President Bush and other leaders
asking for its independence to be protected.

The G20 statement did ask for financial stability to be a concern of the
IASB, but through governance not through standard setting.

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