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Speeches at AICPA's SEC/PCAOB conference

  • AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) (lt green) Image

11 Dec 2008

The American Institute of CPAs held its 36th Annual National Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments in Washington on 8-10 December 2008, simulcast in five other cities.

Speakers included a range of representatives from the SEC (including Chairman Christopher Cox, Chief Accountant Conrad Hewitt, and staff from the Office of Chief Accountant and Division of Corporation Finance), FASB (including Chairman Robert Herz), IASB (including Chairman Sir David Tweedie and Board Member James Leisenring), PCAOB, AICPA, and other groups. The conference is quite popular among SEC registrants and their auditors because the SEC and PCAOB representatives provide insights on important issues for calendar year-end reporting.

  • Click here for Chairman Cox's remarks (PDF 51k). Excerpts relating to IFRSs and the SEC's mark-to-market study are in the box below.
  • The remarks of FASB Chairman Herz (PDF 70k) focused on Lessons Learned, Relearned, and Relearned Again from the Global Financial Crisis – Accounting and Beyond.
  • Speeches by SEC staff can be viewed on the SEC's website. These tend to give staff views on accounting topics of current interest at the Commission.
Excerpts from Chairman Cox's Remarks at the AICPA SEC-PCAOB Conference

Comments on IFRSs:

In order for IFRS to fulfill the promise it holds to be a uniter of the world's capital markets and a powerful tool for investors everywhere, there are a handful of principles that are critical to its success. Every one of us here today needs to see to it that these principles are applied.

  1. First, the standards must be crafted in the interest of investors. That has to be their overarching purpose.
  2. The second principle for the success of IFRS is that the standard setting process must be transparent. That is essential not only to maintain investor confidence, but to ensure the integrity and quality of the standards.
  3. Third, the standard setter must be independent. It cannot be said often enough that effective standards require a dispassionate arbiter, both in this country and around the world. That means the standard-setter must be independent from special pleaders, from the political process, from favored industries or industry players, and from national or regional biases.
  4. The standard setter must also be accountable. Just as the FASB's process must make U.S. GAAP accountable to the needs of investors, issuers and the markets, so too must the IASB ensure that IFRS actually meet the needs of investors and other stakeholders, and that they are updated in a timely way.
  5. And finally, just as with U.S. GAAP, it is vitally important that all of the stakeholders themselves participate in the standard setting process in order to ensure the continued success of IFRS.

Comments on the SEC's mark-to-market study:

The work we have already done suggests that the accounting standard setters could improve upon the existing security impairment models. Investors have also clearly indicated a view that the current concept of mark-to-market accounting increases the transparency of financial information provided to investors . . . but that in inactive or illiquid markets, additional guidance would be useful to promote reasonable application of the standards. We expect to release the final results of the SEC study as mandated by Congress by January 2.

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