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US won’t adopt IFRS for at least five years, says AICPA chairman

IFRS ADOPTION by the US is not coming any time soon, according to AICPA chairman of the board of directors Gregory Anton.

Speaking at the institute’s EDGE Conference in Orlando, Florida, Anton told delegates not to expect any movement until after the US presidential elections at the earliest.

Anton said the AICPA supports giving US companies the option to use IFRS, and supports the issue of one set of high-quality standards, but warned that the “absolute soonest” IFRS will be seen in the US will be in five to six years’ time.

His comments follow a number of setbacks to the IASB’s project to converge global accounting standards. Last month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced that its final staff report on its IFRS workplan will not contain any recommendation on whether to move from US GAAP accounting to international reporting rules.

The SEC’s decision to kick IFRS adoption into the long grass was followed by a spat between the IASB and US counterpart FASB over a solution to contentious impairment accounting rules.

A joint meeting between the IASB and FASB, held on 18 July, to discuss accounting for the impairment of financial instruments ended in acrimony, with FASB pulling back from issuing a methodology for an “expected loss” approach to loan provisioning.

IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst was left fuming, saying that their failure to come to an agreement was “deeply embarrassing”.

The two standard setters are also working through a number of projects on leasing, revenue recognition, financial instruments and insurance, and it is only when these are finished – probably in mid-2013 – that the convergence programme can come to an end.

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