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Reply to NY CPAs 'serious doubts' about IFRSs

  • SEC (old) Image

22 Mar 2009

In its response to the SEC's proposed Roadmap, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) argued against requiring US companies registered with the SEC to use IFRSs at this time. The NYSSCPA is the largest state CPA society in the United States.

The NYSSCPA is the largest state CPA society in the United States. The NYSSCPA favoured, at a minimum, further SEC study or, as an alternative, vigorous efforts to converge FASB standards and IFRSs. One of the concerns expressed by the NYSSCPA was:

'Questions about the IASB's ability to weather political pressures raise serious doubts about its ability to issue high quality standards.'

In support of that assertion, the NYSSCPA cited one example – the IASB's amendment of IAS 39 regarding Reclassifications of Financial Assets. Professor Stephen Zeff, co-author of Financial Reporting and Global Capital Markets – A History of the International Accounting Standards Committee 1973-2000, responded to the NYSSCPA as follows:

'Who has ever argued that, since the launch of U.S. standard setting in 1939, the setting of U.S. accounting standards has not been frequently influenced by such self-interests and politics? Who are we to avow that U.S. accounting standards have all been precisely as the standard setters (currently the FASB) preferred them to be, free of political interference?'

Prof. Zeff's reply cites ten major examples of political interference in the United States, and he points out that his article titled 'The Evolution of U.S. GAAP: The Political Forces Behind Professional Standards published in two parts in the January and February 2005 issues of the NYSSCPA's own magazine, The CPA Journal, identifies many others. Prof Zeff concludes:

'Why, then, should the Society raise a "concern" about one or two instances so far of political interference in the IASB's standard setting?'

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*Posted with the kind permission of Prof Zeff.

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