This week’s blogs: devil in the detail

The invitation to Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting
Standards Board, to speak at last Tuesday’s meeting of the EU Economic and
Financial Council could have led to a significant setback to the G20’s aim of
global convergence towards a single set of accounting standards.

In the end, and if you read the summit’s conclusions and associated media
coverage, everything turned out alright.

Sir David outlined the IASB’s plans to reform IAS 39 and the finance
ministers, after no doubt some strong debate and discussion, were happy with the
timeline that the first elements would be ready for use by the end of 2009.

What this whole episode has done is put the global accounting standards
project on the map. There are far more politicians and journalists with an
understanding of IFRS and the IASB than there were 12 months ago.

That argument over one standard among so many could threaten to jeopardise
the whole project is
a lesson for us all, particularly the IASB.

The prize of a single set of global financial reporting is still there to be
grasped. Much progress has been made over recent years, with the EU leading the
way. I’m sure that this won’t be the last argument over the details of IFRS.

However, I hope what the experience of the last few months has taught
everyone involved in the process of standard setting – accountants, investors,
regulators and governments – that it is not an easy thing to do and takes time.

And when we do have differences of opinion, engagement and discussion at the
earliest opportunity are the best way to resolve them.

Michael Izza, chief executive,

The Queen’s Birthday Honours list contained the usual assortment of unsung
community stalwarts, sporting heroes and treaders of the boards. One gong, an
OBE, goes to West Yorkshire Police assistant chief officer and director of
finance Nigel Brook, so many congratulations to him from all at Financial
Director on behalf of FDs everywhere.

In past years there’s been a chunky representation from the financial
services industry – a field of endeavour notable by its absence these days
(despite the fact there must be someone out there who deserves royal

The nearest we get to a Square Mile honour is the one given to fashion
designer Jeff Banks.
Boom boom.

Andy Sawers, editor, Financial Director

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