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SEC Focuses on IFRS Roadmap and Convergence Again

October 9, 2009

The SEC has put convergence of US GAAP and IFRS back on its agenda after months of silence and speculation about what the regulators would do about IFRS. SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker said convergence of US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and International Financial Reporting Standards is “going to be a priority of the staff over the coming weeks and months.”

Kroeker said the SEC would be turning its attention back to the proposed roadmap to International Financial Reporting Standards by the fall. In reviewing through the more than 200 comment letters that the SEC received, Kroeker noted that most of the comments agreed on the need for a single set of global high-quality accounting standards. “It’s like motherhood and apple pie,” he said. “How do you object to the idea that accounting standards in the U.S. be the same as globally?” The comments from there are divergent as to how and when the US should transition to IFRS. Most commenters were against the idea about adopting early without some sort of committment by the SEC on IFRS.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board have been working on converging their standards, but the boards have been challenged by the current economic situation and are behind in reaching convergence goals by 2011. Kroeker also commented that the SEC would continue to issue its own staff accounting bulletins to provide incremental guidance on standards, even with respect to IFRS. “If it’s in the interest of the protection of investors, absolutely we’re going to share our views,” he said.

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