IASB could water down advisory forum membership criteria

THE GLOBAL standard setter could be willing to water down the criteria for becoming a member of its planned advisory forum of national standard setters, according to its chairman.

The IASB proposed a new 12-member Accounting Standards Advisory Forum in November, heralding a more collective approach to international standard setting in favour of the unique bilateral arrangements previously enjoyed by the likes of US accounting rule-maker FASB.

The criteria for becoming a member of the forum, whereby participants will sign a memorandum of understanding to commit formally to various requirements, has been described as “draconian” by one of the national standard setters.

The commitments include signing up to promote a single set of global standards “in full and without modification” and to support “consistent application” of IFRS by jurisdiction and region, though it seems the IASB is willing to change the requirements – likely to be unpalatable to the Americans – to get FASB on board.

Given the differences between the IASB and FASB over impairments and lease accounting, the big question is whether the US could countenance accepting IFRS without modification.

Hans Hoogervorst, chairman on the IASB, told securities analysts at a conference in New York that the commitment requirement could probably be changed to something the US could live with, Reuters reports.

Hoogervorst also argued that the costs of the US delaying a mover to IFRS “are probably a lot bigger than the one-time conversion cost that an economy has to make when it converts” to IFRS, Reuters says.

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