IAS deadline is looming

Accountancy Age

has written at length about the anecdotal evidence that demonstrates the poor state of readiness among listed company finance directors for IAS. We’ve also reported on our own surveys – and those by others – that highlight how much ground UK accountants need to make up to get themselves ready. But we’ve always been able to comfort ourselves with the idea that, behind the scenes, the work that needs to be done come 2005 was happening. Now, it seems, even that might be a forlorn hope.

This week the second of this year’s Accountancy Age/Robert Half Finance and Accounting salary and careers surveys shows that the training that is needed isn’t happening like it should. Just 51% of respondents said they had received IAS training and just 20% said they believed the changeover would not be relevant to their job. And one in three said they did not believe their employer was doing anything to prepare.

We won’t dwell on the 3% of finance directors who asked ‘what’s IAS?’ And we won’t mention the 2% of auditors who asked a similar question.

But it troubles us that so many UK accountants continue to see IAS as an issue for the rest of the profession – not themselves.

The government may have decided to give unlisted companies the option of whether to use these standards in their accounts from 2005, but this does not mean smaller entities can afford to ignore IAS. If, as is likely, the UK’s Accounting Standards Board converges UK accounting standards with the new rules, UK GAAP will in many cases be amended to fall into line with revised international standards. These would then apply to all UK companies, whether large or small. That’s not far fetched. And it’s not far away. The time to act is now.

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