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FASB Chairman discusses convergence

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13 Jun 2010

US Financial Accounting Standards Board Chairman Robert H Herz spoke On Convergence and Change at a conference in California on 3 June 2010.

Two excerpts are below. Click to Download Chairman Herz's Remarks (PDF 122k).

Excerpt on convergence: The intensified efforts by FASB and by the IASB represent our attempt to respond to the G20 leaders, who, following their meeting last fall in Pittsburgh, called on us to 'redouble' our efforts to complete convergence by our 2011 targets. By 'completing convergence' we mean completing major projects in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that we first published in 2006 and that we have updated periodically.

While this would bring US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, and the International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS, closer and – just as important – would improve the standards in a number of key areas, it would not, as some have suggested, mean that US GAAP and IFRS would be fully converged. Many differences would remain. The SEC staff, as part of its recently announced work plan, will inventory and evaluate the significance of those continuing differences. Its evaluation of these remaining differences, along with many other considerations, will feed into the Commission's decision on whether, how, and when to incorporate IFRS into the US reporting system for public companies.

Excerpt on revisions to project plans and timetables We and the IASB are in the process of developing a number of revisions to our MOU work plan that involve changes in the timing and scope of and approach on certain joint projects. The goals in making these changes to the work plan are to prioritize our efforts in order to better enable us to complete key projects as expeditiously as possible while also maintaining proper due process including enabling constituents to properly review, evaluate, and provide input. Accordingly, we will stagger the release of and the comment periods and roundtables on major EDs over the next year and will limit to four the number of significant or complex EDs we issue in any quarter. The inevitable and necessary result is that although we are still targeting completion of many of the projects by June 30, 2011, we will not complete all of them by that date and a few of the projects will now be targeted for completion in late 2011. We expect to issue a joint communiqué with the IASB detailing the updated work plan soon.

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