Study shows global trend toward GAAP convergence

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13 Feb 2003

A study conducted jointly by the world's six largest accountancy firms, including Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, shows a marked leap toward worldwide convergence with IFRS from previous years.

The study, titled GAAP Convergence 2002, examines the current and planned adoption of IFRS in 59 countries. In 58 percent of the countries surveyed, national accounting standards will be replaced with IFRS for all listed companies, except where national issues remained not covered by the new standards. Another 22 percent said they were adopting IFRS on a standard by standard basis, and a further 20 percent said they were eliminating differences between national standards and IFRS as and when practical. 57 percent of those planning to adopt IFRS were driven by a government or regulatory requirement and 13 percent by standard setters. 51 percent of the 59 countries indicated that the complex nature of some of the international standards - in particular, those relating to financial instruments, and others incorporating fair value accounting - is a barrier to convergence in their country. In addition, 49 percent of the countries surveyed also cited the tax-driven nature of their national accounting regime as a hurdle. Consequently, many countries are at present limiting implementation of IFRS to listed companies, rather than extending it to all companies. Survey respondents also stressed the importance of getting better and more timely access to national language translations of the new standards and interpretations. While translations of IAS were available in 70 percent of the countries covered, in many cases the translations were not sanctioned by the IASB, and in nearly one-third of the countries where IFRS are available in the national language, the translations were not considered to be available quickly enough. Another area of challenge identified was the availability of IFRS training, for which demand is expected to build up significantly as the world moves towards new standards. Click to:

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