Standard setters work to ‘align’ balance sheet approach

US AND INTERNATIONAL accounting standards are to bring together the way financial assets are presented on the balance sheet.

The international standard setter (IASB) and its US counterpart have agreed to find a common to approach to offsetting – the way banks represent their obligations to other financial institutions.

Users of international standards can, under current arrangements, report balance sheet figures that are significantly higher than competitors using US GAAP.

IASB chairman Sir David Tweedie (pictured) said: “The fact that companies can, in some instances, report IFRS balance sheet figures that are double the size of their US GAAP numbers is not acceptable in global capital markets.” He added: “The proposals would eliminate the differences in offsetting requirements.”

Leslie Siedman, chairman of the US standard setter, FASB, said the proposal would transform US GAAP to require netting in a much narrower set of circumstances.


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Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.