On the money with Gavin Hinks

Paul Boyle, chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council, recently made
it known that he had heard some serious concerns, then last week the European
parliament piled into the argument.

The attempted mauling came from Pervenche Berés, the little-known (in the UK
at least) chairwoman of the parliament’s economic and monetary affairs

She wondered out loud whether the International Accounting Standards Board
was ‘wasting’ a lot of time on convergence with the US that could otherwise have
been spent on improving the existing set of international standards. The world,
she said, could manage with more than one set of standards, instead of allowing
IFRS to become too American.

Trouble is, I think key people will find it very easy to dismiss the thoughts
of Madame Berés out of hand.

She is French, so they might suggest she has a natural affinity for
opposition to any US superiority. And she’s a senior member of the Socialist
party in France, which, they will believe, could only compound her natural
leaning to defy anything that even hints of Washington.

Berés’ concern is segmental reporting (IFRS8) and she’s on the side of the
charities, such as Christian Aid, which want to see reporting on a
country-by-country basis so they can see what companies are doing in the
countries that they operate in, rather than the US version.

Now that’s a serious quarrel, and it’s worth remembering that MEPs really
know how to kick up a fuss. Remember Jacques Santer?

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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