A step in the right direction

Last Thursday we revealed that an investment company listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, Phylon Fund Limited, was dropping international accounting standards in favour of US GAAP. With anecdotal evidence suggesting that German-listed companies have also been expressing disquiet over the continued uncertainty surrounding the new regime, experts were warning that European companies could start to lobby for a move to US GAAP if the uncertainty continues.

Meanwhile, an Accountancy Age survey revealed at the same time the majority of the UK’s listed companies still believe that they are not sufficiently prepared for the 2005 deadline. The news was not encouraging.

But this week the IAS campaign received a fillip; the ICAEW revealed it was planning to launch qualifications in IAS to enable accountants to show they can understand and apply international standards.

The programme, aimed at both the users and the preparers of financial information, will come in certificate or diploma form. Subject to member approval at the institute’s June AGM, the new qualifications, according to Moorgate Place, will bring credibility to ‘a confused marketplace’.

Some might say ‘too little, too late’ – but it is a step in the right direction. There are already genuine fears that with accountants struggling to prepare themselves for the changeover, what chance does everyone else have?

There are real concerns about preparedness in the City, and the ICAEW should be applauded for helping to prepare users of accounts.

But the hard work has only just begun.

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