SEC Commissioner discusses convergence

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24 Nov 2005

In remarks at a conference sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs in Copenhagen, US SEC Commissioner Cynthia A.

Glassman discussed various SEC initiatives affecting foreign issuers, including accounting convergence and the SEC's reconciliation. Click to (PDF 66k). An excerpt:

No speech to an international audience would be complete without a reference to the goal of international convergence of accounting standards. Since October 2002, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the standard setter for U.S. GAAP, and the International Accounting Standards Board, the standard setter for IFRS, have been engaged in a project to converge U.S. GAAP and IFRS. I support the goals of this project, and was pleased to see a first draft of a joint standard on business combinations published in June.4 Although there will undoubtedly be transition issues, having one standard will be more efficient for issuers and more useful for investors.

Reconciliation is the other critical issue on the international front. As you well know, the Commission requires companies that use IFRS to reconcile their financial statements to U.S. GAAP in their filings with us. Don Nicolaisen, the Commission's former Chief Accountant, proposed a 'roadmap' to achieving the acceptance of IFRS in the U.S. without reconciliation. Under the roadmap, consistent interpretation, application and enforcement of IFRS around the world is a prerequisite to the Commission's consideration of eliminating the reconciliation requirement. Our staff has already begun a survey, but because IFRS is being implemented in many countries for the first time this year, the analysis is in its infancy. The staff will continue, however, to pursue the roadmap towards the elimination of the reconciliation requirement as quickly as possible.

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