Update on the US SEC and IFRSs

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15 Aug 2008

In a recent address to the American Bar Association's Committee on Federal Regulation of Securities, John W White, Director of the Division of Corporation Finance of the US Securities and Exchange Commission presented an update on the activities of his Division and the Commission.

A portion of his comments focused on IFRSs. Click to Download Mr White's Remarks (PDF 143k). Here is an excerpt:

We put out a concept release on this last August, and held two roundtables in December, at which we received a great deal of very thoughtful input. Back in February, Chairman Cox asked that Corp Fin and the Office of the Chief Accountant formally propose to the Commission a 'roadmap' laying out a schedule, with appropriate milestones on which the schedule will be conditioned, for continuing the US's progress in moving to accept IFRS in this country. We have a large team actively working on this project, and even held another roundtable on the topic last Monday, August 4, at which we received yet more helpful information from members of the public. So hopefully we will be prepared to make a recommendation soon. But as always, remember my disclaimer.

In anticipating all of this, I would suggest that you keep the following in mind:

  • We are headed toward a single set of high quality, globally accepted accounting standards – there is general agreement that having a single set of high quality, globally accepted accounting standards will benefit the capital markets generally including investors, as financial statements of global issuers become more comparable on a cross-border basis.
  • The choices are US GAAP and IFRS.
  • Over 100 countries require or accept IFRS.
  • So, IFRS is where the future is (not US GAAP).

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