On the money with Gavin Hinks

If you’re interested in the debate over international accounting standards,
then you’re probably much like Trekkies ­ the obsessive fans of TV series and
film franchise Star Trek.

Well, that’s the observation from Charles Niemeier, the former US accounting
regulator who is stepping down from the body that oversees company reporting
across the Atlantic.

He told the Wall Street Journal that IFRS was a “Star Trek groupie thing.
There is a whole world of people that are really into it”. It made me wonder
which Star Trek character was most accountant-like. In the office, the answer
from a colleague (and self-confessed Trekkie) was instant ­ Mr Spock.

No accountant I know has pointy ears and a pudding bowl haircut, but Spock is
“highly logical and not very emotional”. Like an accountant?

I wonder? Logical appears right, as does unemotional but think what happened
when the crash happened and countless accountants turned on fair value (a
central plank of IFRS). That definitely involved emotion, and opponents might
argue that logic left through the back door too.

Accountants can get pretty excited and hot tempered. At times there is a gulf
between the professional, cultivated image and reality.

Such is the case over the US adopting IFRS. Many US practitioners don’t want
it, with a passion. The debate rages on and is taking on a tone of “don’t let
the foreigners dictate terms”. Perhaps they need a Spock in their ranks.

Now, I can’t help thinking about the shape of Jim Kroeker’s ears. He’s the
new chief accountant at the US financial watchdog. He must be a Trekkie. He
seems to like IFRS.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

Related reading

Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.