Asia emerging as key player in international standard setting: Tweedie

Asia is emerging as a significant force in international accounting and is
baulking at attempts to pressure standard setters, according to the head of the
international accounting rule maker.

Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board
(IASB), believes Asian nations will take a tough stance against political
interference in accounting standard setting as its influence on accounting
rule-making grows.

“You are going to find Asia, who are pretty supportive, don’t like people
telling [standard setters] what to do because they say, ‘wait a minute, we are
going to use these standards too, so why should tell us what to do – Get your
tank of our lawn’.”

The IASB were pressured by parts of Europe to change its fair value standard
in the wake of the crisis. The fair value principle ravaged banks balance sheets
as asset prices plummeted in falling markets. Banks were forced to measure their
loan-books at depressed market prices which obliterated much of their
balance-sheet value.

In October 2008, under pressure from Europe, the IASB carved out parts of its
fair value standard. It is in the process of replacing its standard in a
three-phased project, due to be completed by June 2011.

Europe were the first bloc to adopt international standard in 2005. Since
then India, Japan, Korea and other Asian nations have set in train processes to
eventually adopt the international rules.

“We owe a lot to Europe. They set us going. They made the big decision. It
took us by surprise suddenly 25 countries are using IFRS,” Tweedie said.

“When [accounting standards] are truly international, with Asia next year,
Korea, India, Japan, they are all building up, Europe will not be the big

For full details of Sir David’s interview, see Accountancy Age’s 9 September

Further reading:

US fair value not proving popular

warns US to adopt standards or lose influence

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