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US GAO report examines 919 restatements of financial statements

25 Oct 2002

The United States General Accounting Office (GAO) has published a 262-page report on Financial Statement Restatements, Trends, Market Impacts, Regulatory Responses, and Remaining Challenges.

The eight-month study identified 885 companies (including 689 publicly traded companies) who made a total of 919 restatements during the 5½ years ending in June 2002. The principal finding is that, while the number of restating companies continues to make up a small percentage of all publicly listed companies annually, the number of restatements due to accounting irregularities grew significantly during the 5½ years studied. "The proportion of listed companies on NYSE, Amex, and Nasdaq identified as restating their financial reports tripled from less than 0.89 percent in 1997 to about 2.5 percent in 2001 and may reach almost 3 percent by the end of 2002. From January 1997 through June 2002, about 10 percent of all listed companies announced at least one restatement." Share prices of restating companies dropped by an average of 10% within one day after the restatement was announced. Issues involving revenue recognition (misreported or nonreported revenue) accounted for almost 38% of the 919 announced restatements. Issues relating to improper recognition or capitalisation of costs and expenses accounted for another 16% of the restatements. Click to from IASPlus (PDF 5,270k) -- it will take 30-60 minutes if you are using a modem rather than a broadband Internet connection. If you can handle ZIP files, click here for a (ZIP 3,008k).

Notes from the first day of the October IASB meeting

24 Oct 2002

We have combined all of the notes from the 23-25 October 2002 IASB meeting on a Single Page. .

We have combined all of the notes from the 23-25 October 2002 IASB meeting on a Single Page.

IOSCO papers on disclosure, independence, auditor oversight

23 Oct 2002

The Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has issued statements of principles to guide securities regulators in dealing with three critical areas necessary for investor confidence in securities markets.

The principles describe essential features of regulatory systems requiring transparency and disclosure by listed entities; the independence of external auditors; and the need for public oversight of the audit function. You can download the three papers and the related IOSCO press release as follows:

October issue of our IASPlus newsletter is available

23 Oct 2002

The October 2002 edition of our newsletter can be Downloaded Here.

This is the Asia-Pacific edition, which includes all of the general IASB/IFRS update information plus country updates for the Asia-Pacific region. Our Europe-Africa and Americas editions will be published soon.

CESR paper on enforcement of accounting standards in Europe

23 Oct 2002

The Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) has issued a consultation paper that contains a Proposed Statement of Principles (SOP) of Enforcement of Accounting Standards in Europe.

The SOP will be used for developing standards of best practice on enforcement among CESR members. Principle 1 set out in the SOP states that "competent independent administrative authorities set up by member States should have the ultimate responsibility for enforcement of compliance of the financial information provided by the companies identified by Principle 7 [listed companies and those applying for listing] with the reporting framework." This seems to support the establishment of oversight boards in EU member States similar to the PCAOB set up in the United States by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Comments are requested by 15 January 2003. Click to download:

Accounting standards updates for 10 jurisdictions posted

22 Oct 2002

We have updated the following jurisdiction pages for news about recent accounting standards setting activity: Australia, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand. .

We have updated the following jurisdiction pages for news about recent accounting standards setting activity: Australia, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand.

Summary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

22 Oct 2002

We have posted a One-Page Summary of the Act (PDF 19k).

Also you can Download the Full Text of the Act (PDF 230k).

FASB invites comments on principles-based standards

21 Oct 2002

The US Financial Accounting Standards Board has invited comment on a proposal for a principles-based approach to accounting standard setting.

The proposal discusses how that approach might improve the quality and transparency of financial reporting and affect development of future standards. Comments are requested by 3 January 2003. FASB has scheduled a roundtable discussion on the topic for 16 December 2002. The proposal can be downloaded at Here's their Press Release (PDF 13k). Referring indirectly to International Accounting Standards, FASB Chairman Robert H. Herz stated:

The FASB is committed to improving US financial accounting standards. Many believe that moving to broader, more principles-based accounting standards such as those used in other parts of the world would facilitate better reporting in the United States. Others, however, are concerned that a principles-based approach could reduce the comparability of financial information and leave too much room for judgment by companies and auditors.

Foreign issuers in US must file electronically starting 4 November

18 Oct 2002

New US rules requiring foreign private issuers and foreign governments to file most of their Securities Act and Exchange Act documents on EDGAR will become effective 4 November 2002. EDGAR is the SEC's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System.

Click for Link to SEC Release.

IASB will meet in London next week

18 Oct 2002

The IASB will hold its monthly meeting on 23-25 October at its offices in London.

The agenda will include Revenue Recognition Concepts; Linkage of Assets and Liabilities (the linkage question arises when the accounting treatment for two or more transactions or contracts differs depending on whether they are accounted for separately or together); Consolidation and Special Purpose Entities; Business Combinations - Phase II; Convergence Topics; Insurance Contracts; and possibly Performance Reporting. The following week (28-29 October) the Board will meet with the chairs of its eight partner national standard-setters.

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.